Japanese firm sorry for ban on Chinese

Reuters
The incident highlighted a lingering hostility to foreign visitors as Japan strives to extend a shopping-driven tourism boom.
Reuters

A Japanese cosmetics firm has apologized for a sign banning entry for Chinese people from one of its outlets. The incident highlighted a lingering hostility to foreign visitors as Japan strives to extend a shopping-driven tourism boom.

Pola, a unit of Pola Orbis Holdings Inc, said images of an “inappropriate” poster were shared on Chinese social media sites, without specifying the contents or location of the offending item.

Photos of the handwritten sign in Japanese saying “Entry by Chinese people prohibited” in a shop window were trending on Chinese social media yesterday.

Pola, which has around 4,600 stores across Japan, apologized for causing “unpleasant feelings and inconvenience to many people” and said it had removed the sign.

“As soon as we confirm the facts, we will suspend operations at the store and implement strict punishment,” it said in a statement posted online in both Japanese and Chinese.

Pola’s mea culpa comes as Japan looks to boost a Chinese-powered inbound tourism boom ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — a policy championed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.

Japan is weighing looser visa rules for tourists from China, sources told reporters earlier this year.

Some 23.8 million people visited in the year to October, setting it on course for an annual record. Visitors from China climbed 13 percent from a year earlier to 6.2 million during the period.

Many Chinese tourists have taken advantage of a weaker yen and easier entry rules to visit Japan for shopping sprees. Cosmetics are among the most popular items for Chinese shoppers.

The Pola incident is not the first time this year a Japanese firm has offended China. Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer APA Group came under fire over books placed in its hotels containing essays denying the 1937 massacre by Japanese troops in Nanjing.

Following street protests and calls for a boycott of the chain by China’s tourism administration, APA in June temporarily removed the books from hotels hosting athletes for a sports event — but said it would not do the same during the Olympics in 2020.


Special Reports
Top