A political dispute in 2012 between China and Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea dealt a beating to sales of Japanese cars as Chinese consumers decided to back their government's stance with a boycott. It got so bad that Japanese automakers cut production by up to 50 percent, Audi had to distance itself from a dealer who posed with a banner reading "We must exterminate the Japanese," and competitors like General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford were expected to improve market share because of it.

A provocative move by Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe probably won't help. Abe visited Japan's highly controversial Yasukuni shrine (part of which is seen above) that "venerates the souls" of the country's 2.5 million war dead, including those categorized as Class A war criminals. Any such visit always elicits condemnations from China and South Korea, and this time even the US spoke of its "disappointment" in the action. Abe's visit came on the first anniversary of his accession to the office of prime minister - with some ascribing it to other nationalist ambitions - and the date also happens to be the birthday of the founder of modern China, Chairman Mao Zedong.

Beyond diplomatic measures like China authorities registering their displeasure with the Japanese ambassador in Beijing in person, and lots of media chatter about what China should do, there have been no further flare-ups of anti-Japanese sentiment. Automakers like Toyota and Honda have no desire to enter into the political situation, but they'll surely be watching what happens next because the effects of the last firestorm haven't subsided: part of the reason Ford overtook Toyota in sales in China this year is ascribed to continued fallout, and just this month a Chinese teenager ran away from home for three days to protest her parents' plan to buy a Honda.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      Willy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not sure if they can, but if they could, cant they just simply remove the names of class A war criminals from the shrine? From the outside looking in, this seems a bit frivolous, but after the war a lot of accused war criminals (including class A) got immunity from any trials. and Japan gotten a lot reconstruction economic aid while the ones ravaged by the Japanese armies left to pickup the pieces. And some Japanese conservative group now aren't helping w statements downplaying the atrocities, even many the public knew what happened (did I mentioned at one point the education minister was a class A war criminal too?). Hence, some animosity.
        tt6368
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Willy
        you see that's exactly the problem. The Japanese politicians, if not all people, thinks all those died in the war, including war criminals and cold blooded murderers sacrificed their lives for the country, thus should be remembered. In japan they are remembered as national heroes. if you google around, every year a memorial ceremony is held with many veterans marching in their historical uniforms. the reason U.S. is merely "disappointed" is modern Japan has become the most important US ally in Asia. you can get away with many bizarre things as long as you are willing to die for the americans :)
      Dub
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Chinese are just upset that they cannot conceptualise and produce as good a product as the japanese. (and about the invasion a long time ago.)
        ken
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dub
        Let see how well the Americans will cope with Pakistani Prime Minister visits the grave of Osama Bin Laden or Israelis about German Prime Minister starts to remember the tragic deaths of NAZI party.
        MotionDesigner
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dub
        (and about the invasion a long time ago.) You treat that as a mere afterthought. That is the main reason for the emotional upheaval in both China and South Korea. What they don't teach in American education is Japan's extremely brutal and imperialistic colonization of Korea and parts of China. The Japanese committed many war crimes and atrocities against innocent people. This didn't happen in ancient history, many Chinese and Koreans today have relatives who were directly affected by the Japanese colonization. This is no different than the chancellor of Germany visiting a nazi war shrine to pay respects to Adolf Hitler and other nazi figures.
          Famsert
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MotionDesigner
          crazybabydoc: Germany. :) Next question?
          crazybabydoc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MotionDesigner
          So what country would you say teaches an accurate version of its extremely brutal and imperialistic colonization of others? There's no defense for Abe's provocative behavior but lets not pretend the right-of-center nationalists in Japan are somehow worse than any other country's.
        Banlas
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dub
        So the Chinese are at fault just because the Japanese are able to produce better cars.
        treeinsc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dub
        What they really upset about is Japan has hotter AV actresses.
        wendavid99
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dub
        It's not long time ago. for a country has been last for thousands of years, this is still a fresh memory. I still remember how terrify it was when my grandma told me what Japanese did to her family. There are still many victims live around.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Haji
        • 1 Year Ago
        so says the american who nuked hiroshima and nagasaki.
          Lunch
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          When the Americans got to Iwo Jima and the other smaller islands in Asia, the marines had to fight inch by inch and Japanese civilians committed mass suicides. The US knowing if they were to enter mainland Japan, the marines would have to fight street by street and who knows how much longer that would take. The US did what it had to do to save American lives. Yes, I said American lives. Japan would never give up. Even when the emperor recorded his surrender speech onto LP, the military staged a coup to prevent him from doing so looking for the recording. They wanted to fight on till the last man. So to reply to your statement. So says Yamamoto, who was the mastermind of Pearl. Wake up the sleeping giant and ur bound to get your butt kicked.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          [blocked]
          btulliani
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          A sea/land invasion of Japan would have cost millions of more lives. Anyhow, the Japanese army and people were not worth of anything less.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          [blocked]
          LW
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          @pondnavy, @btulliani, @Lunch Please take you heads out of the sand. Latest research and documentation shows that Jap4n was ready to surrender, seeing U$$R's entry into the w4r, their only on the condition to the U$ was its emperor stays untouched. The US, seeing the w4r in europe being over and the U$$R is turning its troops and racing them toward the pacific theater, had to shows some deterrence toward U$$R by showing what it is capable of, thus dropping of the b0mbs for no other reason.
      billfrombuckhead
      • 1 Year Ago
      Americans and the rest of the world should also boycott the Japanese for not apologizing for their many WW2 atrocities.
        juststudent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        Americans commit atrocities too you know http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_war_crimes_during_World_War_II In pacific campaign, some soldiers even like to take dead japanese body parts as trophy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_mutilation_of_Japanese_war_dead as far as I know, to lesser degree, the 'winning' nations (a.k.a victims of axis) are also commit such atrocities but go unnoticed because you know, they're 'winning', or 'in the name of revenge', or 'it would obscure our good history'. Just few years ago, I learned that many of my country history has been altered or downplayed, several of our most famous national heroes are even obviously criminals. All in all why don't we let go all of that? It's more than 60 years ago, and modern japan is nowhere close to that behavior, sure they're lucky that they got huge aid just after their defeat but now China economy is even stronger than Japan. I'm chinese descendant (not in China), and in WW2, japanese burned one of my relative (a civilian) with several other men. And no, I don't feel disgruntled, it's all long gone, the murderers are probably dead already and today's japanese populace unlikely have anything to do with that.
      X8664
      • 1 Year Ago
      The world needs to condemn these Jap dogs for their actions. China is king of the world now.
        Haji
        • 1 Year Ago
        @X8664
        sure, a king who doesnt even know how to behave in public transportation.
          wendavid99
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Haji
          that still better than warship class A war criminals and whitewash dirty crimes.
      Jjjhhld
      • 1 Year Ago
      @Dub The Chinese and the koreans are not upset about the invasion. Is mostly the fact that the Japanese refuse to admit that they committed a war crime.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      China and Korea only uses this to fuel their propaganda, and america and the other countries are stupid enough to believe what China says, but of course murica loves to suck up to China.... The shrine has the same symbolic meaning as the Tomb of the unknown soldiers. The PM isn't not going there to praise the war criminals they're going there to give respect for the "people who died for their country", its the same as the president visiting the tomb of the unknown soldiers to give respect on veterans day.
        MotionDesigner
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        Not the same. The Japanese shrine memorializes Japanese soldiers with specific names, also including the names of 14 documented war criminals. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a generalized memorial, not dedicated to any specific person, but the armed forces in general. This Japanese shrine is more the equivalent if Germany had a shrine dedicated to their fallen soldiers which also included the names of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, and so forth. It wouldn't be very diplomatic for the German Chancellor to visit a memorial and pay respects to a list of names that include Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler, now would it? The newly appointed Japanese PM knew his visit would raise the ire of the neighboring countries and also the U.S., yet he chose to go anyway. As the PM, that's not a very diplomatic move and shows an attitude of defiance and arrogance.
        wendavid99
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        What you said is exactly what Japan politicians have been saying, just a excuse to cover their effort to restore their Japan empire. In 2013, Shinzo Abe claimed "Japan is back" and that alerted all eastern Asian countries. Japan's bloody invasion to China and Koren began in 1300s. During the past few hundreds of years, they have caused huge lost to their neighbors, especially between 1894 and 1945. They were defeated many times but they can always recover after a while. no matter what, we are not going to let the evil out of the box again.
      Ben
      • 1 Year Ago
      China, the country that worships the person who's responsible for the death of millions of Chinese during the great leap forward, cultural revolution etc... For all I know they should be hanging the Japanese flag right next to the picture of Mao Zedong.
        RJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben
        And just FYI Ben, VERY few people support Mao in China, he's (literally) a figurehead and that's about it. People don't go into shines to worship Mao and deny the evil he had done...
          RJ
          • 1 Year Ago
          @RJ
          Well, do you think the Chinese population had a choice regarding its decision? I'm sure it wasn't put there by majority vote / opinion. Just because it's there doesn't mean people like it. The government uses Mao as a figurehead, to support the very foundation of their ideology. It doesn't automatically imply everyone supports him. Getting off topic here, but while Mao has done his share of evil deeds, his contributions to China's national security and pride cannot simply be overlooked. Hence, he can't be directly compared to the Japanese invasion army, which has not contributed positively to China in any way.
          Ben
          • 1 Year Ago
          @RJ
          I wonder what is the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is doing there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mausoleum_of_Mao_Zedong As a Chinese I find it disgusting.
        conandoyle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben
        Killing between family members and outsiders are totally different in Chinese perspective.
        wendavid99
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ben
        What happened during great leap forward is different from what Japanese did. The great leap forward is internal affair while Japan is a external threaten. This was why Chinese stopped their bloody civil war and united to fight Japanese then resumed the civil war after Japanese had been driven out.
      davido
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd love to listen in while Toyota's CEO talks to the Japanese PM. I guess we'll have to wait til the NSA releases the tapes.
      GR
      • 1 Year Ago
      Want to know what's sad? 800 years ago, Japan and China had better relations. The Japanese monk Eisai visited China and returned to Japan to reintroduce two things to Japan which are now often associated with Japan: green tea and Zen Buddhism. Both were actually adopted from China. Today, Japanese and Chinese politicians are in a pissing match over stupid little islands. Abe is a right-wing politician who doesn't mind pissing off the Chinese. However, his feeble mind doesn't seem to understand how detrimental it is to Japanese businesses in China. While I can see his side about paying respect to Yasukuni "war" shrine, it's just bad PR. I've been there. It's a shrine built BEFORE WWII and it enshrines ALL who gave their lives for Japan. This includes Class A war criminals, BUT ALSO includes Chinese and Koreans. Heck, even war horses and war dogs are honored there. It's also privately owned and not some kind of national treasure. It's really a place right-wing Japanese go and jerk off to. The average Japanese can't give two $hits about it as most people in Japan are politically apathetic. Both sides are wrong about the issue. Japan has apologized numerous times and has paid BILLIONS in reparations to the Asian countries it victimized during their brutal imperial conquest. Those of you who think Japan never apologized should look up all the occurrences and politicians who have done so. It's a lengthy list. The Chinese and Korean breed hatred for the Japanese into their youth. It's really a brainwashing process based on some truths. That being said, the Japanese are dismal at educating and recognizing what happened. The Japanese youth are not taught about the atrocities their nation committed in WWII. While the average Japanese now is very anti-war, that stems mainly from Japan's wartime victimization (ahem, the A-bombs). Topics like the Rape of Nanking, Unit 731, Bataan Death March, forced prostitution, and slavery are not covered in educational curricula. Ignorance is rampant in Japan about how brutal the Imperial Japanese military was. China is the most important consumer market in the world and succeeding in business there is the future. The idiotic politicians in Japan do not seem to understand this. They seem to think of China and Korea as rivals when in fact they are prime consumer markets. Despite their dislike of Japan, other Asians know the Japanese make great stuff. The Japanese corporations know how critical China is. Heck, I've even heard of a Japanese Mitsubishi Motors businessman who did business in China and he had to get down on his hands and knees to apologize to Chinese people on behalf of Japan and his company for wartime atrocities. This man was born after the war, yet was doing this because politicians back in Japan are so pathetic about the issue. While fault goes on both sides, it's really up to Japan to make the moves to patch things up. They got far more to lose and everyone knows it too. Just ask GM and VW.
        RJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GR
        GR, though we had our different opinions and arguments in the other thread, after reading further into your logic and thoughts, I gotta give you respect for your knowledge and neutrality on this issue. The sad reality is, no government in the world, regardless of how "free" they claim their media is, will ever give a true unbiased view to their citizens. Society and order won't exist if everyone knew exactly about everything.
      btulliani
      • 1 Year Ago
      Canadians should NEVER forget the war crimes committed against our soldiers during WWII. The rest goes without saying................
        • 1 Year Ago
        @btulliani
        [blocked]
          LW
          • 1 Year Ago
          If it was only that easy. 'merik4 needed West G3rmany and J4pan as mi1itary projections against c0mmunist expansion, thus those countries were allowed to do whatever it wants, and anything that countered against 'merik4's imperia1ist interest, it will not be allowed. Whatever the country does on their own, 'merik4 did not interfere, thus W Ger initiated inward retrospective and payment to its victims, while Jap4n just brushed everything under the rug. U$$R dissolved, and W Ger was not critical to the empire, thus the hoards of n4zi related 1awsuits were allowed to go forward, extracting tens of billions of dollars to pay off the dwindling number of survivors. Chin4, being the new evi1 empire to 'merik4, still needs all these client states to contain it, thus 'merki4 trying to make 0ccupied Kore4 and Jap4n be friends with each other w/o resolving any of the underlying grievances, prevent reunification between 0ccupied Kore4 and the K0rea that refuses to submit to the 'merik4, refuses to move any bases off 0kinawa even though almost everybody on it are against it; even causing the last PM to resign over him having to submit to his master in 'merik4, trying to force itself back into the Fi1ipines, even though the anti-0ccupation party is power.
      thedriveatfive
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an American I feel like we need to pull out of japan militarily. The Japanese want this as well. Whatever you may feel about this incident (other Americans) its hard to say this is really our business anymore. The vast amount of people who were in or lived through the tragedy that was WW2 are now dead (although not forgotten). Its time for the world to move on.
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