1000 Chinese boats headed to disputed Senkaku IslandsSeptember 17, 2012
The islands are in the East China Sea, between Okinawa and Taiwan. Japan considers them part of the Okinawa chain and has long administered them. China, on the other hand, calling them the Diaoyu Islands, considers them to be historic Chinese territory. In an attempt to quell the dispute over sovereignty, the Japanese government recently purchased them from their private owners. But, rather than quieting matters, the purchase has inflamed Chinese nationalism. Today, there are reports that a flotilla of around 1000 Chinese fishing boats are sailing to the islands. The prospects of a clash with the Japanese Coast Guard are very real and can only be enhanced by the reported presence of half a dozen Chinese naval ships in the mix.
Japanese firms are taking precautions against this rising tide of Chinese nationalism. Several Japanese firms have closed their Chinese-based manufacturing facilities, and the largest Japanese retailer has closed hundreds of its stores in China. Kyodo News is reporting that the municipal government in Beijing has advised all Japanese businesses to close in apprehension of rising protests.