China has issued a travel warning for Japan after a group of Chinese tourists were attacked on a trip to the port of Fukuoka in the wake of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
Officials said the warning followed an incident in Fukuoka on Wednesday when a bus of Chinese tourists was surrounded by ten cars filled with Japanese nationalists, who then banged windows and kicked the sides of the bus while screaming abuse.
Japanese police quickly arrived to calm the situation.
The Chinese National Tourism administration warned: “Chinese tourists and tour groups currently in Japan or planning to go to Japan in the near future should watch their travel safety”.
Relations between the two neighbours continue to suffer following an argument over the Diaoyu islands, over which both countries claim sovereignty.
Earlier this month, a Japanese patrol boat in the waters around the island arrested the crew of a Chinese trawler.
This led to China breaking off all diplomatic contact with Japan, which eventually backed down and released the captain of the vessel.
Tourism between the two countries has already taken a severe hit. In the first five months of this year, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan rose 36 per cent to around 600,000, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, helped by a loosening of visa restrictions for Chinese nationals. Fukuoka in particular has benefited from a number of cruise ships arriving from China.
However, according to China’s National Tourism Office, a number of Chinese have cancelled trips to Japan.
Meanwhile Japan Airlines said that more than 1,000 people have cancelled flights between the two countries over the past months last month. The airline’s president Masaru Onishi said he ‘‘may have to consider reducing the number of flights’’ should the tense relations continue.