Diaoyu Islands row takes toll on cultural and travel sectors

Updated: 2012-10-20 01:47

By Agencies (China Daily)

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The row between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands has spilled over to the arts and continues to hit the travel industry.

China's main entry to the Tokyo International Film Festival has apparently been pulled, the event's organizers said on Friday.

But the festival's secretariat said it would still screen Wang Jing's Feng Shui — the only Chinese film nominated for the festival's grand prize — because it had not received formal notification.

A statement carried on Xinhua News Agency on Thursday said the producers were withdrawing the film in protest over the island row.

"The Japanese government and right-wingers have not shown a sincere attitude regarding the settlement of the dispute, which has seriously hurt the Chinese people's feelings," it said.

The 25th annual festival is scheduled to be held from Saturday to Oct 28 this year, featuring 15 international films nominated for its top award, the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix.

"We have received an e-mail from an unnamed sender that had attached to it a joint statement purportedly from the film's three production firms, which said they are withdrawing the film," Nobushige Toshima, the festival's secretariat, told AFP.

"The statement didn't have any representative's name, signature or seal on it," he said. "Therefore, we haven't received any formal communication so at the moment we are due to screen the film as planned."

Toshima said the statement was similar to what had been reported by Xinhua.

On Friday, the film's distributor, Beijing Antaeus Film Co Ltd, confirmed on its microblog the film had been withdrawn.

"Because of tense relations between China and Japan, Feng Shui was withdrawn from the Tokyo Film Festival," the company said.

The distributor said in a posting late on Thursday: "In the current environment, Feng Shui chose to give up when it was close to success. Indeed, it is a pity for the film but a source of pride for the Chinese people."

Promotion pulled

The row also continues to cast a pall over flights from China to Japan, following massive cancellations during the National Day holiday earlier in October, which normally would have been a peak time for travel between the two countries.

Spring Airlines, China's largest private low-cost carrier, withdrew the offer of free roundtrip tickets between Shanghai's Pudong airport and Japan's Saga prefecture just days after it was launched.

"We canceled the offer last night after taking into consideration the feeling of netizens," airline spokesman Zhang Wuan told Reuters.

The promotion, which would have seen customers pay just tax and surcharges totaling about 1,030 yuan ($160), aimed to boost demand after Spring Airlines' passenger volume dropped by half on some of its Japan routes.

Spring Airlines also withdrew an offer of free tickets between Shanghai and Japan's Kagawa that was launched on Tuesday, the spokesman said.