China warns citizens visiting Japan after tourist bus attacked

China warned its citizens to watch out for their safety while travelling to Japan.

Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 18:50 PM IST

Beijing: Following weeks of acrimony with
Japan, China warned its citizens to watch out for their
safety while travelling to that country as reports came in
about a Chinese tour bus being attacked in Fukuoka.

The National Tourism Administration said: "Chinese
tourists and tour groups currently in Japan or planning to go
to Japan in the near future should watch their travel safety".

The warning followed an incident in south western
Fukuoka yesterday where the bus of a Chinese tour group was
allegedly attacked by a right-wing Japanese group, state run
Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

The government agency said in a website posting that
tourists should contact the Chinese Embassy in Japan or the
nearest Chinese consulate in case of any emergency.

China-Japan relations have been strained since the
detention of a skipper of a Chinese fishing trawler by Japan
after it collided with two Japanese Coast Guard patrol ships
on September 7 in waters off the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku
Islands in the East China Sea.

China, which claims sovereignty over the Islands,
maintained that the seizure and detention were illegal and
mounted diplomatic pressure on Tokyo by calling off all
exchanges.

The captain was finally released after a fortnight
long detention, a day after China arrested four Japanese
nationals on charges of recording video footage of military
targets.

Three of them were released yesterday, while one was
expected to be charged.

The sea row between the two Asian neighbours has also
affected Chinese tourist flow to Japan.

Due to the tensions, a Beijing-based health food
company cancelled a group tour to Japan this month for 10,000
of its employees.

Chinese mainlanders make up the biggest number of
tourists travelling to Japan, after those from South Korea and
Taiwan.

On July 1, the Japanese government relaxed visa rules
for Chinese nationals to encourage more of visits and help
boost the nation`s flagging retail sector.

In the first five months, the number of Chinese
mainland visitors to Japan rose 36 per cent year-on-year to
about 600,000, according the Japan National Tourism
Organisation.

Chinese tourists spend 230,000 yen (USD 2,613) on
average per trip, which is a massive injection of capital into
the retail sector, Xinhua reported.

PTI