Japanese Workers Rescued From Shanghai Protest, Consulate Says

A group of Japanese citizens were rescued from a Shanghai factory owned by Shinmei Electric Co. on Jan. 19 after protesting workers confined them to the buildings a day earlier.

The Japanese consulate in Shanghai had requested assistance from the municipality’s foreign affairs office and public security bureau in securing the safety of citizens after they were informed of the incident, the consulate said today. The employees were freed in the evening of Jan. 19.

About 10 Japanese employees were among those confined in the buildings during the protests, which started in the morning of Jan. 18, the Mainichi newspaper reported today. The workers, which numbered about 1,000, were demonstrating against an increase in fines for being late, according to the newspaper.

The Shanghai consulate said it didn’t have details on whether anyone was injured in the protests and whether the company had reached any agreements with the workers.

A dispute between China and Japan over the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea has damaged the $340 billion trade relationship between the two nations and fueled concern over an escalation in tension. Protests in September forced some Japanese companies including Fast Retailing Co.’s Uniqlo to temporarily close stores and hurt operations at others including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.

— With assistance by Shiyin Chen

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