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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Japan’s central bank held an emergency meeting today to try and do something about its economy — and make the country’s currency more competitive. And to make matters worse, China is now publicly criticizing Japanese companies for not paying their Chinese workers enough.
Things are getting a little testy between the two, as Marketplace’s China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.
ROB SCHMITZ: The back-and-forth between the two countries is all about resources — natural and human ones. Japan’s foreign minister struck first, blaming Beijing for restricting exports of so-called “rare earth” metals — they’re essential for Japan’s high-tech industry. He also complained that striking Chinese workers are slowing factories down.
China Premier Wen Jiabao shot back, warning Japanese companies that it was high time they gave Chinese workers a raise. Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota had to interrupt assembly lines at their plants in China this year to deal with fed-up workers there.
International relations expert Huang Da Hui says the testy exchange is a symbol of China’s growing economic power.
HUANG DAHUI: Japan is used to being the strongest country in Asia and has always looked down upon China. But now China is more powerful and I think it’s hard for the Japanese to accept this.
China may have a stronger economy than Japan, but Huang says it’s basically quantity over quality. He says China could stand to learn from Japan’s more mature economy.
Not that it seemed very mature today: a rising yen is terrible news for Japan’s export-driven economy — the currency is at a 15-year high against the dollar.
In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.
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