That's what happens when you commit war crimes (70 years ago).
China and Japan don't exactly have the greatest history together. There's been conflict between them for a couple hundred of years, which culminated during World War II. To this day, there are many in China who still hold strong anti-Japanese feelings. This mentality is also applied to the purchase (or lack thereof) of Japanese cars. A recent survey has revealed that some 51% of the 40,000 participants will not buy a Japanese car due to anti-Japanese sentiment.
It turns out, as just one example of the atrocities committed, that burying Chinese prisoners of war alive by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II causes some to hold some hard feelings to this day. Obviously, Japanese automakers are concerned with this data. Chinese consumers, however, still view Japanese cars as more economical to own than American or German cars. Even South Korean brands didn't fare well against those from Japan. But still, nationalistic feelings are hurting Japanese brand sales in the world's fastest growing auto market.
Nissan, for example, is seen as a brand for older low income buyers with families. That's not good news for Nissan. Even premium Japanese brands are struggling against their German competitors. So what can Japanese automakers do to improve sales? That's exactly the question they're asking themselves, but history may have already answered it for them.