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An anti-Japan protester scuffles with police as he tries to march through the streets towards the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai (AP)

An anti-Japan protester scuffles with police as he tries to march through the streets towards the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai (AP)

A group of demonstrators is surrounded by uniformed policemen and paramilitary policemen during a protest against Japan in Chengdu (AP)

A group of demonstrators is surrounded by uniformed policemen and paramilitary policemen during a protest against Japan in Chengdu (AP)

Protesters carrying Chinese flags and signs with anti-Japan messages march in front of the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai (AP)

Protesters carrying Chinese flags and signs with anti-Japan messages march in front of the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai (AP)

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An anti-Japan protester scuffles with police as he tries to march through the streets towards the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai (AP)

Scores of Japanese-owned factories and stores in China have closed as anti-Japanese demonstrations raged in dozens of cities.

At stake are billions of dollars in investments and far more in sales and trade between Japan and China, the world's third and second-largest economies. The two are so closely entwined, though, that both would suffer from any long-term disruptions.

The Japanese government has been urging Beijing to do more to protect Japanese businesses from trespassing, looting and other damage, chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters.

"Japanese companies play an important role in the Chinese economy and employment. We believe we should be calm and make rational judgments from a broad perspective," Mr Fujimura said.

Big-name brands and retailers appeared to be suffering the brunt of the latest mass outburst of anti-Japanese sentiment, with companies in lower-profile sectors less affected. Many companies said they closed on Tuesday as the 81st anniversary of a Japanese invasion brought a fresh wave of protests venting anger over the colonial past and a current dispute involving contested islands in the East China Sea.

In Shanghai, many of the Japanese-owned shops and restaurants in the western part of the city where the Japanese consulate is located had either closed or covered any Japan-brand signs.

Uniqlo, Asia's biggest clothing retailer, had closed some of its outlets but opened its huge flagship store on Shanghai's main Nanjing Road shopping street. Amid calls for a boycott of Japanese products, the popular store was busy with shoppers.

Still, many employees of Japanese retailers, car-makers and other companies were staying home as thousands of anti-Japanese protesters marched in Beijing. The Japanese school in Beijing was closed on Monday, a Japanese public holiday, and on Tuesday. Staff said they were uncertain what would happen on Wednesday.

Many companies were wary of speaking in too much detail about the situation. Toyota would not reveal which or how many of its factories were closed, saying it was up to each affiliate or subsidiary to decide. Employee safety was the priority, it said in a company statement.

Honda said all five of its assembly plants in China would close on Tuesday and Wednesday, mainly to adjust production due to the impact of the anti-Japanese backlash on sales. Honda dealerships also have been damaged in recent protests, the company said.

PA


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