Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A Japanese storeowner is taking heat in Japan and China after posting a "No entry for Chinese" sign on his store front, according to local press report.
Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday the store made the controversial move following a deadly outbreak of a new coronavirus that has killed at least 17 people in China. Japan recently confirmed one case of the rapidly spreading disease.
The Japanese store, located in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, a region known for its hot springs, also included other anti-Chinese signage, according to the report.
The store said it is "banning Chinese who spread around viruses."
"Don't come to Hakone to spread viruses," the sign read. "Don't come to Japan."
The store added, "Visitors from Hong Kong, Taiwan are not banned, so please, no misunderstandings."
The storeowner told the Asahi he began hanging the signs on his confectionary shop on Friday. The Japanese man also claimed, "Bad Chinese people are ruining the store."
"I wanted to ban their entry because of the coronavirus. I hope Chinese people do not come here."
The storeowner has since received messages demanding he apologize for the posters that have since gone viral in Japan and China. On Chinese social media, commenters said it is "ironic" the store accepts Chinese payment cards.
The incident in Hakone is being reported at a time when Japan, the most popular foreign travel destination for mainland Chinese, is preparing for large numbers of visitors during the Lunar New Year holidays, a seven-day period.
Kyodo News reported Wednesday Japan is taking other precautionary measures.
Organizers of a preliminary boxing match, ahead of Japan's 2020 Summer Olympics, have canceled the event, which was to be held in Wuhan, central China, where the outbreak was first reported.
Japanese organizers said the decision was made out of "consideration for the health and safety of the participants," according to the report.