Japanese retailers Fast Retailing Co. and Aeon Co. shuttered outlets in the world's second-biggest economy as a territorial dispute and the anniversary of Japan's invasion of China prompted thousands to protest in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities.

Fast Retailing closed 42 of its Uniqlo stores in China, its second-largest market by outlets, and Aeon shut 30 of the 35 stores it has in the provinces of Guangdong and Shandong. Nissan Motor Co., the largest Japanese carmaker in China, halted production at two factories in the country.

Japan's purchase last week of uninhabited islands claimed by both countries is threatening trade ties of more than $340 billion and complicating efforts to fortify growth in both countries as the European debt crisis saps demand for exports. Protesters in China have ransacked retailers, smashed store fronts and overturned cars, with fires having damaged a Panasonic Corp. plant and a Toyota Motor Corp. dealership.

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