Anti-Japan rally planned in China Saturday: Japanese media

TOKYO, Sept 15, 2010 (AFP) - Anti-Japanese protesters are planning to rally on Saturday in Beijing over Tokyo's arrest last week of a Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters, Japanese media reported Wednesday.

The week-long heated diplomatic row over the incident near a disputed East China Sea island chain has already seen Beijing summon Tokyo's ambassador five times and cancel energy talks and a lawmaker's visit to Tokyo.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun daily, citing unnamed Chinese public security sources, reported Wednesday that demonstrators were calling online for protesters to march to Japan's embassy in Beijing on Saturday.

"Chinese authorities are preparing to be on full alert as a sizeable demonstration is expected to be held on September 18 in Beijing," the news report said.

"The Japanese embassy has scrambled to collect information (about the rally) as anti-Japanese sentiment has been deteriorating in China," the Asahi said.

The report added that "Chinese security authorities are expected to permit the rally, but may take some measures depending upon the size."

A spokesman at the Japanese embassy in Beijing said they had received no word of any protest plans from police, who have had dozens of officers stationed near the embassy for days for security.

"We have been in close communication with police, but we have received no notice from them about a protest," he said on condition of anonymity.

Relevant police authorities could not immediately be reached.

There appeared to be no organised effort on the Internet or Chinese blogs to stage protests, although authorities typically block such content.

A Japanese school in Beijing has decided to postpone an athletics festival planned for Saturday to sometime in October at the request of Chinese police, the Nikkei business daily reported in its evening edition.

Meanwhile, Japan's consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou issued a warning to compatriots in China "to avoid behaviour that makes you stand out as Japanese," the Nikkei said.

The row between the two Asian giants has seen Tokyo insisting that the captain of the Japanese fishing vessel intentionally rammed two of its coastguard patrol vessels during a high-seas chase near the uninhabited islands, which are called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

China has called his detention illegal and repeatedly warned Japan it must release him or cause serious harm to bilateral relations.

The United States called Tuesday for dialogue to settle the dispute.

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