BEIJING (Reuters) - Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday suspended some of its car production operations in China after anti-Japan protests flared across China in response to a territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing.
Beijing-based spokesman Hitoshi Yokoyama said in a text message sent to Reuters that the Japanese auto maker has decided to halt manufacturing and other operations, jointly run with its two Chinese partners, to “ensure employee safety.”
He declined to elaborate and provide information on which plants are being affected by the move Tuesday. He did not say how long the suspension would last.
Toyota and its partners manufacture automobiles in the southern China city of Guangzhou, the eastern city of Tianjin, as well as the northeastern city of Changchun.
The company aims to sell 1 million cars in China this year, up from the nearly 900,000 cars it sold last year.
The Toyota move follows a string of anti-Japan protests that have erupted in China over the last several days. Over the weekend, Toyota and other Japanese-brand outlets in Qingdao were torched by angry demonstrators.
Hundreds of Japanese businesses and the country’s embassy suspended services in China on Tuesday, as anti-Japan protests threatened to reignite and drag a territorial dispute between Asia’s two biggest economies deeper into crisis.
Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Nick Edwards