10/05/2012, 00.00
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Diaoyu/Senkaku, the tension causes the auto market to collapse

Toyota, Nissan and Mazda - the three major Japanese car companies - continue to lose ground in the promising Chinese market. The wave of nationalism that has accompanied the protests against the sovereignty of the disputed islands continues unabated. Tokyo decides to keep its ambassador to Beijing: it does not have a name ready for replacement.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The social and diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Tokyo for the sovereignty of the archipelago of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands have brought down sales of Japanese cars in China. Since the issue has exploded, violent demonstrations against the Rising Sun and a boycott of Japanese products haven't stopped a single day: Toyota has lost 1% of sales, while Nissan has lost 1.2%.

Even if the numbers don't seem huge, it must be considered that by the end of July, the companies began to cut vehicle production for the Chinese market. In August, Toyota managed to sell 75,300 cars against a monthly average of about 80,000. Given the continuing tensions, it is likely that the production cut will continue until November.

The collapse also includes Mazda, which in September sold 13,258 vehicles against 17,597 in August. According to Yale Zhang, an analyst with Automotive Foresight, "Japanese auto manufacturers lost a lot of selling days. There is no doubt that the situation is connected to the complicated case of the disputed islands."

The wave of extreme nationalism that has hit China and Japan has had obvious repercussions also in the field of diplomacy. Tokyo has decided to keep its ambassador to China, Uichiro Niwa, in office for another month: his successor, Shinichi Nishimiya, was appointed in August, but collapsed and died the day before leaving for Beijing.

Now the Japanese government has no other name ready. There are many diplomats working at the Foreign Ministry with experience in China, but appointing a China-friendly ambassador could trigger criticism among right-wing groups in Japan, which are clamoring for the government to maintain a tough stance against the neighboring country.

It is not clear what the value is of the archipelago that the Chinese call Dioayu and the Japanese Senkaku. It is believed that it has above all a strategic value, as it is located along the most important shipping routes, others argue that in addition to the rich fishing waters, in the marine subsoil there are endless gas fields. In 2008, as a gesture of detente, the two governments signed an agreement for the exploitation and joint research on the archipelago, which, however, remained a dead letter.



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See also
Honda sees Chinese sales plunge by 37 per cent because of strikes
The future of Japan, buffeted by the financial tsunami
Chinese take to the streets over Diaoyu / Senkaku. Beijing stands idly by
All Chinas against Japan's occupation of Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands
Tokyo concerned about China’s escalating military and maritime activity


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