Japan anger at Shanghai violence


Japan has lodged an official complaint after mass protests in the Chinese city of Shanghai turned violent.

Protesters carrying Chinese flags surrounded the Japanese consulate, throwing stones and other missiles.

They say Japan's new school books play down wartime atrocities and oppose a UN Security Council seat for Japan.

Japan's foreign minister, who is due to visit China on Sunday, said he would complain to the Chinese government, and called for compensation for damage.

Nobutaka Machimura said he would "strongly protest" against the anti-Japanese protests during a visit originally aimed at defusing the tensions.

In a statement, Japan's Foreign Ministry said violent anti-Japanese protest seemed to be happening every week.

"Whatever the reason for this violent and destructive behaviour, we will not accept it, but strongly criticise it," the statement added.

Windows smashed

The BBC's Francis Markus in Shanghai says huge waves of demonstrators marched across the city, converging on the block-like building of the Japanese consulate.

They then flung stones and paint over the heads of the Chinese military police guarding the compound.

Police in riot helmets kept the crowd from entering the Japanese consulate, and appealed for calm using loud-hailers.

The protesters smashed windows of Japanese-style restaurants and bars and overturned Japanese cars on the streets on China's business capital.

In China's capital, Beijing, a huge police presence in Tiananmen Square prevented a repeat of a recent violent protests, which angered Tokyo.

But up to 10,000 people marched in the eastern city of Hangzhou, with another 2,000 protesting in Tianjin, near Beijing, Reuters reported.

War of words

Japan's decision to approve eight school textbooks - which critics say gloss over the country's actions before and during World War II - triggered the current protests.

Among the issues causing outrage is the description of the Japanese army's massacre in Nanjing, referred to in the study books as "an incident".

Between 50,000 and 300,000 Chinese people were killed between December 1937 and March 1938 in one of the worst massacres of modern times.

Correspondents said the scale of last week's Beijing disturbances was unusual for China, and indicated tacit official support for the protesters.

Japan has urged its nationals in China to keep a low profile as tensions remain high between Tokyo and Beijing.

While Japan is calling for compensation and an apology, China has told Japan to "face up to history" and admit the suffering caused by its forces before and during the war.

The protests were also directed at Tokyo's bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat.

On Wednesday, Japan further angered China by issuing drilling rights for oil and gas in a disputed area of the East China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang called the decision a "serious provocation to the rights of China and the norm of international relations".