- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2005

TOKYO (AP) — Shares of Japanese companies tumbled yesterday amid fears about the economic fallout from intensifying Chinese civil and political protests against Japan as relations between the two countries soured to the worst in decades.

Analysts said Japanese companies, many of which are counting on China’s booming economy to boost profits, weren’t taking the anti-Japan sentiment and unrest seriously enough — a concern investors appeared to share. The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average plunged 3.8 percent to end at its lowest point since Dec. 16.

Some of the most noticeable declines were in companies with business in or tied to Chinese and U.S. markets. Shares of shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., which deals in steel, chemicals, machinery and other products in China, stumbled 6.6 percent. Electrical machinery maker Fanuc Ltd.’s stock sank 5.5 percent, while shares of consumer electronics conglomerate Sony Corp., itself a target of anti-Japan hackers, shed 5 percent.

On Saturday, Chinese police stood by as thousands of rioters threw stones, eggs and plastic bottles at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai, and damaged Japanese restaurants and cars. Some demonstrators shouted, “Kill the Japanese.”

It was the third consecutive weekend of protests and vandalism in the most contentious dispute between the two countries in decades. In Beijing last weekend, rioters smashed windows at the Japanese Embassy and attacked at least two Japanese students.

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