2012-09-17 17:36:06

Violence in China in islands dispute with Japan

Protestors in about 85 Chinese cities denounced Japan, some mobs smashing the windows of Japan-owned stores and restaurants.

They overturned Japanese-model cars; manufacturers Honda and Mazda said they're shutting some of their factories in China temporarily.

China's government said it would protect Japanese citizens, but amid the violence many of them are lying low, some employers considering evacuating families.

The US Defense Secretary called for calm: “It is in everybody’s interest for Japan and China to maintain good relations, and to find a way to avoid further escalation.” Secretary Leon Panetta was speaking in Tokyo.

China is outraged at moves by Japan to purchase three of the Senkakus, tiny uninhabited islands China considers ITS territory.

Police there arrested some of the rioters, but the uprising may continue for some time: - Tuesday is an anniversary of Japan's 1931 invasion of China and meanwhile - a flotilla of Chinese fishing boats is reported by state media to be heading for the islands in an apparent challenge to Japan's coast guard.

Alastair Wanklyn reports from Tokyo.

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