Japanese firms banned from China IT trade show

Organizer of the event criticizes Japan's history textbooks, as political tension spills into the tech sector.

Japanese companies are being barred from participating in a major IT exhibition in China, as rising political tension between the two countries spills over to the technology sector.

Mason Expo, the organizer of the upcoming China IT Expo 2005, said on its Web site that the sanction was prompted by recent actions taken by the Japanese government.

Specifically, the company took issue with Japan's decision to approve local history textbooks that played down the country's role as an aggressor in the Second World War. In addition, Japan's continued bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council and its territorial dispute with China over Diaoyu Islands also are issues that have angered the global Chinese community, Mason Expo said.

These issues have long been sticking points between both governments and have most recently led to large-scale demonstrations near the Japanese embassy in Beijing earlier this month.

Mason Expo said it will begin de-registering Japanese companies that have signed up for China IT Expo 2005, which will be held in Shenzhen from May 17 to May 19.

Last year, the show attracted more than 300 local and international exhibitors from countries such as the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Korea and Japan. Companies included Apple Computer, Marconi and Dutch electronics giant Philips.

Winston Chai of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.