By on September 10, 2012

This flag raising on uninhabitable rocks …

A long simmering dispute of islands which both Japan and China claim as theirs has risen in temperature in China. There have been anti-Japanese demonstrations in Chinese cities, and on-line calls for boycotts of Japanese goods. Now the row is officially affecting sales of Japanese cars in China, Dong Yang, secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), told Reuters today in Beijing.

.. set off this flag raising on uninhabitable rocks

The CAAM official said that Japanese car sales slowed in August and he believes it was related to a recent political dispute between Japan and China. Last Thursday, Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga said that the matter has “some impact” on sales of Japanese car manufacturers due to a difficulty in having the seasonal open air campaigns.

Sales Foreign Branded Cars China, Jan-Jul 2012
German 1,381,800
Japanese 1,285,900
American 942,600
Korean 553,700
French 237,700

Contrary to popular belief (in some parts of America,) Japanese are in high demand in China. Nipponese makes are number two on the Chinese sales charts, behind Germany, and followed by America, Korea, and France. The Japanese had been leading for a long time, but were recently eclipsed by the Germans, which continue to grow strongly, The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reports. Sales of Japanese branded cars were down by 2 percent in August, while sales of German brands rose 26 percent. Profiteering from the dispute between Japan and China, German brands are likely to extend this lead in September.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

25 Comments on “Japanese Cars Collateral Damage In War Of Words Over Islands...”

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    How about you include a map of the Chinese claim? It stretches far down from China, past Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and towards Indonesia.

    • 0 avatar

      Great opportunity for GM and Ford. Many Chinese in the USA already won’t buy Japanese cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Polar Bear

        They better hurry before Taiwan or Korea gets tense again and America gets the blame.

      • 0 avatar

        That might have been true up to the late 80s, but a large population of Chinese immigrants in the US who lived through the 30s and 40s are no longer with us.

        It’s no coincidence that Chinese-Japanese inter-marriage in the US (at least outside of Hawaii) is much more common now than, say, 15-20 years ago. Had most of the WW2-era generation still be living today, that would not have gone down well.

    • 0 avatar

      Wrong dispute…

      The Diaoyu/Senkaku Island chain is half way between Taiwan and the Okinawa island chain. The issue is complex as Japan only “discovered” the island chain in 1895, more or less the same time when China lost the first Sino-Japanese War over the Korean peninsula. China’s claim is based on maps from earlier dynasties and its own administrative records.

      Just as France was not in a position to challenge Germany’s annexation of Alsace-Lorraine immediately following the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, China was in no position to context Japan’s claims in 1895.

      Both countries have largely been agreeable to let the issue lay in the background for the last several decades, due to more pressing economic concerns. However, it seems like hotheads in both country have now brought the issue to the foreground of each’s respective national agenda.

      In any event, this is probably not the right forum for a detailed analysis as to who has a stronger claim.

      What is interesting to note though, is that from the list of “foreign-branded” vehicle sales, almost ALL of them are manufactured by in joint-venture plants in China. Is a Honda made in Guangzhou by Chinese workers, really any less appealing than a VW made in Shanghai for political reasons? :)

  • avatar

    uninhabitable #corrections

  • avatar

    China has already warned that if the Japanese government goes ahead with the purchase of those rocks, which are owned by a Japanese family, than there will be severe economic ‘retaliation’ and possibly even militarily ‘retaliation’ China.

    China has warned that autoindustry will be first to be targeted.

    However, economic retaliation may not be the smartest move as the Chinese economy shows some severe signs of fragility right now. There is unquestionably a large bubble right now, the question becomes will it burst or will it slowly and safety deflate (which is what everyone wants).

    From a military standpoint, China has been making threats of taking the island by force, but as Foreign Policy Magazine recently wrote, Japan would win any naval conflict if that were to happen. Moreover, the US military is bond to protect those rocks, as Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has confirmed multiple times.

    As far as the “uninhabitable rocks” comment. Its about EEZs (exclusive economic zones). Under UNCLOS, those rocks allow Japan/China to extend their EEZ 200 nautical miles and any fishing and natural gas under it.

    In the South China Seas, where China is fighting most ASEAN nations, that area is nicknamed the “New Persian Gulf”. There is that much oil under there; China is hungry for energy.

  • avatar

    Leaving aisde the Japanese dynamics, of which I’m not familiar, Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the government astro-turfing the outrage over these rocks in China, or if it’s case that the fake grassroots outrage is now at an unintended level that government has to go along with.

    As in any negotiation, the more genuinely either side believes that they have the upper hand, the sooner they would be willing to go to arbitration. Apparently, it’s still more important to stir up irrational feelings against the Japanese than to go for the resources under the sea…. so far.

    • 0 avatar

      Sadly the flag-waving jingoistic nationalism is probably genuine. If the mainland chinese government had organized this endeavor, there is no way they would bring a Taiwanese flag along as you can see in the picture! This was actually a grassroots effort organized by people in Hong Kong, with some ecumenical support from activists from Taiwan and the Mainland. This is not the first such occupation neither. I know there was another attempt a dozen years ago which ended with a few activists drowning.

    • 0 avatar

      Not irrational.
      Study the history of Japanese aggression and war crimes in Korea (which is undergoing another island dispute against the Japanese via the “Dokdo Islands”), and China (see “Rape of Nanking”, chemical/biological experiments performed on Chinese prisoners by “Unit 731”, etc.).

      This is very much rooted in history.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Puny Southeast Asian nations should kow-tow to Mighty China. It’s really not that bad to be under Chinese Hegemony–see Hong Kong. Just don’t be uppity.

    • 0 avatar

      Tell that to those that are protesting the patriotism courses China wants for children in Hong Kong.

      Yes… it’s not so bad… *rolls eyes*

      • 0 avatar

        They’ll back down…for now.

        On the other hand, I can’t even imagine the firestorm if a single US state voted to remove pledging the allegiance in the morning.

      • 0 avatar

        Onyx, that’s a poor analogy. Hong Kong wasn’t always under Chinese national rule, let alone under the rule of the current gov’t in Beijing. It would be more analogous to San Antonio somehow coming under Mexican rule and then making the local schools teach Mexican patriotism.

        Actually, as acuraandy points out, there are American school districts and college campuses where displays of American nationalism are frowned upon. Other nationalisms not so much. If you don’t believe me, do a search on [U.S. flag & Cinco de Mayo].

      • 0 avatar

        Ronnie: I think there is a meaningful difference between a single school or school district voting to not do something, versus a city, state, or country (or SAR in this instance) voting to axe out something like this. Remember that story a year or two ago about a prom in Mississippi that was segregated? That was just one school. It would be a totally different dynamic if it was the state of Mississippi that voted to have segregated proms.

        The Mexican analogy is interesting. Both Hong Kong and San Antonio were under the administration of China and Mexico, respectively, at around 150 years ago. Texas became “uppity” as more American settlers came in and outnumbered the Mexicans. But with the current trends of migration and changes in demographics to a more Hispanic population, who knows what will happen in terms of whose patriotism is taught to whom in the near future? The same will probably happen to Hong Kong in the next generation or two as more mainlanders move down there.

    • 0 avatar

      “It’s really not that bad to be under Chinese Hegemony”

      How’s that working out for Tibet?

  • avatar

    ‘On the other hand, I can’t even imagine the firestorm if a single US state voted to remove pledging the allegiance in the morning.’ – as for that, Onyx, that’s old hat. Many school districts (thankfully not where my kids go to school) here have already done so in the name of ‘diversity’ and ‘not offending other races’. Disgusting.

    As for this, I smell a mini-WWIII brewing. I was once told by my wise father, there are two government entities you do NOT f*** with under any circumstances: Texas, and China.

    Japan would be wise to keep their capital and national pride on the main islands and rebuild post-nuclear holocaust…does anyone including the Japanese remember they were nearly wiped out a mere 1 1/2 years ago?

    That said, I ‘get it’, but it just plain doesn’t make sense to unleash a military juggernaut like China to prove a point of claiming UNINHABITABLE islands, detrimental to both the economy and military (ha!) of Japan. Japan wouldn’t stand a chance, dragging the US (among others) into said WWIII.

    Now how’s that for irony, hipsters?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure if someone said it earlier or I read it on, but the sabre rattling of these islands has mostly to do with control of the East China Sea. There international laws where you control the sea X amount of miles from your land (14 maybe) and if the Chinese gain control of these islands their sphere of influence extends deeper into the ocean and they gain de-facto control of the sea lanes… there’s also undersea mineral rights since you receive X mouth of miles around your land to consider, namely undersea oil. I just read an article last night where Wang Yilin, Chairman of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, made the bold claim and I quote “large-scale deep-water rigs are our mobile national territory and a strategic weapon”.

      Another possibility is these rocks would also be a great place to stash surface-to-ship missiles just in case any local navies get a little uppity…

      Geopolitics are fascinating, aren’t they?

      EDIT: Speaking of underwater mineral rights there are those who now claim the 1982 Falklands War was actually fought for control of possible undersea oil deposits near the islands, deposits which as we speak are being explored and exploited by British companies.

      • 0 avatar

        I think it’s possible, maybe probable, that minerals besides petroleum, metals and hydrates extracted from the ocean floor will eventually exceed the value of offshore oil. I expect environmentalists will oppose such mining even if it’s only grabbing manganese nodes exposed on the sea bed, but we humans are getting better and better at exploiting this world’s resources and the wealth in and under the oceans is too great to be ignored.

      • 0 avatar

        Very much agreed.

  • avatar

    During the 1980`s, some over patriotic Americans were smashing Japanese cars with “Louisville Sluggers,” because the Big 3 were losing sales and they feared for their jobs. According to Edward Deming, it was poor management principals that ruined the US automobile manufacturing base.

    Japanese cars will continue to sell in China despite the lunatics from the CCP and their island claims. Furthermore, the Chinese should read Deming`s book to improve their working conditions before experience another social implosion.

    If Chinese want to effect German car sales, I am certain they start a flag raising event about the former German colony in Quigdao.

    • 0 avatar

      Unlike the Japanese, the Germans were actually relatively benign in how they treated the Chinese during the period leading up to WWII.
      In fact, the Germans were appalled at the massacres and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese against Chinese civilians – to the point of offering shelter.

      The average Chinese citizen may not be as blindly patriotic as we assume, but I am certain that they would still put even the corrupt Chinese Communist Party higher in the moral rankings than the Japanese government.
      I say this as a Western-educated, Hong Kong-born Canadian who actually quite likes Japanese cars, movies and culture (well, excluding the Bushido craziness that led to all that bloodshed).

      Large swathes of the Japanese government and establishment continue to deny the significance and even existence of the Rape of Nanking massacre (akin to Holocaust denial), and the ugly truth of “Comfort Women”.

      Until they own up to their sins (which the Germans have done), they will forever be viewed with at least some degree of suspicion and hostility in the likes of China, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, etc.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. Not owning up to past sins is one thing. Enshrining convicted war criminals in shrines like Yasukuni even today is a whole another ball of wax…

        I’ve worked with numerous Japanese exchange students for the past 15-20 years and an appalling number of them sincerely believe they were the victims in the war. As a modern democracy, there’s no excuse for that sort of thing.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, well stated. A sizable segment of the Japanese establishment is still very much unrepentant about its past.

        The Yasukuni Shrine is often explained away by the right-wing elements as being a religious establishment, on the assertion that religion is distinguishable from politics.

        This is largely a farce.

        How would the rest of the world feel if Germany built a shrine to the homage of Himmler, Goebbels and Hitler? I imagine the reaction amongst the Poles, Russians, and most Europeans would be comparable to the reaction of the Chinese and Koreans to the Yasukuni Shrine today.

        The major difference is that Germany is a modern democracy, which has clearly acknowledged its past, having made every effort to not only repent, but to repair relations with its neighbours. Japan on the other hand, choose to whitewash its past wherever possible. The logic is clear – deny the truth long enough, and the world will forget.

        On the current Diaoyutai/Senkaku Island dispute, there is a rather thorough and insightful article by Professor Inoue of Kyoto University, which addresses the historical origins of the dispute.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Inside Looking Out: Doesn’t Tovares afraid of being cancelled from STellantis for making such outrages...
  • conundrum: Well, the math the EU bureaucracy came up with to prove EVs were so wonderful over a decade ago was a load...
  • DAC17: Why does anyone care about this ridiculous way to strip money out of peoples’ pockets for unnecessary...
  • Inside Looking Out: Did you mean President Yeltsin?
  • Tele Vision: I recently bought a 2003 4Runner with the 4.0L V6. That engine makes more horsepower than the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber