Tokyo has communicated its concerns to Beijing over an order to scrap catalogs of Japan’s Muji-brand goods store chain containing maps that do not show disputed islands, the top government spokesman said Wednesday.
“There is no territorial dispute to be settled over the Senkaku Islands. We can by no means accept the measure based on China’s unilateral claims,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference, referring to the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.
China and Taiwan both claim the Senkakus, calling them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively. Tokyo conveyed its concerns to Beijing Tuesday night through diplomatic channels, he said, after recently learning of the order.
Suga said it is obvious that the uninhabited islets are part of Japan’s inherent territory in terms of history and international law and the order by the Chinese authorities against Ryohin Keikaku Co., the operator of the Muji stores, could have a negative impact on the business activities of Japanese companies.
The map in question was used in catalogs distributed at a Muji store in China’s Chongqing to indicate the number of the brand’s shops operating in each country and region.
The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China told Ryohin Keikaku last October that its map in the catalogs did not show the Senkakus or other islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea.
Responding to its order to discard the catalogs and implement measures to prevent similar practices, the Japanese company said it has taken “appropriate measures” and scrapped the catalogs.
The Chinese government has recently accused a number of foreign companies of treating self-governing Taiwan and semiautonomous Hong Kong as if they were independent countries on their websites and in other materials, reflecting President Xi Jinping’s hard-line stance on territorial issues.