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Japan Snubs China`s Apology Demand Over Detained Captain

Japan Snubs China`s Apology Demand Over Detained Captain

Posted September. 27, 2010 16:22,   


Japan has rejected China`s demand for an apology and compensation for the capture of a Chinese fishing boat and the arrest of its captain.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday morning, when the captain Zhan Qixiong, 41, returned to China via a chartered flight, saying, "All of the prosecutorial acts the Japanese side took, including the capture of the Chinese fishing boat, were illegal and void and Japan must immediately apologize and compensate."

In response, Japanese Foreign Press Secretary Satoru Sato said in a statement Saturday afternoon, "China`s demand for an apology and compensation has no grounds and is totally unacceptable."

"There is no question whatsoever that the Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory historically and under international law," he said. "The incident was a case in which a Chinese fishing boat obstructed official operations."

After Japan issued the statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Saturday evening, "As Japan infringed on China`s territorial sovereignty and the personal rights of Chinese citizens, our demand for an apology and compensation is justified."

Kyodo News Agency in Tokyo, however, quoted Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, as saying Sunday afternoon, "We have no intent to accept China`s demand, and it is important that both sides hold wide perspectives and act accordingly."

Japanese media said Saturday that China has apparently started unilateral drilling at the Shirakaba (Chunxiao) gas field, which Beijing and Tokyo had agreed to co-develop, signaling the possibility of a renewed dispute over gas fields.

If Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who are both attending the U.N. General Assembly, return home without holding talks in New York, the two countries will likely continue to see strained ties for the time being.

Kyodo also said an object that appeared to be a light bomb was thrown into the Chinese consulate general in Nagasaki, Japan, Sunday morning. Nobody was reported injured because no one was working inside.

bonhong@donga.com changkim@donga.com