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Why a Muji catalog is causing diplomatic friction between China and Japan

Why a Muji catalog is causing diplomatic friction between China and Japan
[Photo: Flickr user bfishadow]

The Chinese government is mad at everyone’s favorite Japanese design store, Muji, and not because its body fit cushions are out of stock.

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Muji is in hot water with the Chinese government for printing a catalog that contained “serious errors” in regard to Taiwan and left out a group of islands that Japan and China have been feuding over. (Japan calls them the Senkakus; China refers to them as the Diaoyu Islands.) According to the AP, China ordered Muji to destroy the offending catalog. Per diplomatic tradition, Japan has now officially complained to Beijing about attempting to boss around Muji.

Muji isn’t the first company to annoy China by recognizing or failing to recognize Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the islands. Delta Airlines, Zara, and medical device maker Medtronic have all been scolded by Beijing for failing to “respect China’s sovereignty,” and Marriott recently had to shut down its website and app in China for a weeklong timeout after listing Tibet, Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong as separate countries.

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