12 Japanese multinationals ready to break with the Chinese over Uyghur exploitation

They are part of the group of 80 big brands accused of doing business with Xinjiang companies that exploit forced labour. Giant Toshiba will close relations by the end of the year. The US and Britain have already imposed restrictions on imports of Chinese cotton.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 12 large Japanese groups are ready to cut off relations with Chinese companies that exploit the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Giant Toshiba will cease all relations with them by the end of the year. This is what emerges from a Kyodo News investigation published yesterday.

According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), 83 major international brands - including 14 Japanese companies - benefit directly or indirectly from Uyghur workers exploited inside and outside Xinjiang.

China is widely accused of organizing a concentration camp system to keep the Uyghur and Kazakh populations under control. According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, over a million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities of Islamic faith are arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, which the local population calls "East Turkestan".

Press revelations have also highlighted the existence of labour camps in the Chinese autonomous region, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims are reportedly employed by force, especially in the cotton harvest. The Chinese deny any allegation, arguing that those in Xinjiang are job training centres and poverty reduction projects.

The United States and Great Britain have already imposed restrictions on imports of cotton and other goods produced in Xinjiang: Tokyo has not so far adopted measures of the same type. Of the 14 Japanese companies accused of exploiting Uyghurs, only Panasonic refused to answer Kyodo News's questions. All of the others denied doing business with Chinese counterparts involved in forced labour or said they could not verify the allegations against their suppliers in Xinjiang.