Japanese store denies Chinese customers entry in fear of coronavirus

Japanese toy store owner refuses customers from China but allows those from Taiwan, 'Hong Kong nation'

Japanese store forbids Chinese customers from entering. (Facebook photo)

Japanese store forbids Chinese customers from entering. (Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A toy store in the Japanese prefecture of Kanagawa has decided to deny entry to all Chinese customers, citing fear of the Wuhan coronavirus on a notice posted on the storefront.

In an article published Tuesday (Jan. 21) by Japan's Asahi Shimbun, the store owner specified in the notice that no Chinese customers are allowed to enter the store, but citizens of Taiwan and Hong Kong are still welcome. Controversially referring to the latter as the "Hong Kong nation," the owner claimed that the new regulation was aimed to prevent the mysterious new illness from spreading.

According to the report, the toy store is located in Hakone, a mountainous town known for its hot spring resorts and breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. The owner told reporters that he has had bad experiences with rude customers from China and that he would not take the chance of contracting the coronavirus.

After being released on social media, the store's new policy has drawn criticism from Chinese netizens, including some who managed to contact the owner by phone and tried to threaten him into taking down the sign. While the owner insisted on rejecting Chinese customers, he said that he would modify the notice to adopt a less aggressive tone, reported Liberty Times.

The Wuhan illness has stirred up fear among hotels and shopping centers in Japan. In an interview with Jiji Press, the famous Japanese chain Karuizawa Prince Hotel said that its employees are all concerned about receiving guests from China since they are not permitted to wear masks on the job.