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Japanese minister calls China's reaction in island dispute 'hysterical'

Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Monday slammed China's "hysterical" reaction after Beijing froze rare earth mineral shipments to Japan and hundreds of Chinese took part in anti-Japanese rallies over a souring territorial dispute.

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AFP - Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Monday labelled China's reaction in a territorial row as "hysterical", pointing to Beijing's freeze of rare earth mineral shipments to the island-nation.

Maehara, known as a China hawk, was asked in parliament about a series of retaliatory steps Beijing has taken since Japan in early September arrested a Chinese trawler captain near a disputed island chain.

China scrapped high-levels talks and bilateral events. Industry sources say it also halted rare earth exports, crucial for high-tech goods, to Japan.

"I think the countermeasures China has taken are extremely hysterical," Maehara said, speaking after anti-Japanese protests in China at the weekend.

"As for the rare earth issue, the Chinese commerce ministry says they haven't taken such a measure, but we still can't conclude at this moment that shipments have returned to normal," he said.

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