September 17, 2012 / 8:28 AM / 5 years ago

Japan retailers close stores in China, take precautions

TOKYO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Several Japanese retailers have halted operations in China and have taken steps to protect staff in the country after violent protests flared over a territorial dispute that threatened to hurt trade ties between Asia's two biggest economies.

A spokeswoman at Fast Retailing said that five stores of its clothing chain Uniqlo were closed on Monday, and three others were operating on shortened hours. The company has asked its Japanese staff in China to work from home and follow guidelines on Japan's foreign ministry webpage.

Japan's largest retailer, Seven & I Holdings, has reopened five Ito Yokado supermarkets and about forty "7-11" convenience stores, which were shut on Sunday. The stores now operate on reduced hours, the company's spokesman said.

Aeon Co Ltd,, the No.2 retailer, closed six Jusco supermarkets on Sunday and the stores remain shut on Monday, with a restart timetable not established yet. The firm is prohibiting China business trips for its Japan-based staff, but is not recalling any employees back from China.

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