Then Japan PM Kan Ordered Release of Chinese Captain in 2010 Collision

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 9 (Jiji Press)--Naoto Kan, prime minister of Japan at the time of a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japan Coast Guard ships in September 2010, ordered the release of the captain of the Chinese ship, then Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has said.

In the incident, the Chinese ship collided into the coast guard's Mizuki and Yonakuni patrol ships in waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Sept. 7, 2010, and the captain of the fishing boat was arrested by Japanese law-enforcement authorities the following day for obstructing the coast guard's official duties.

At a study meeting on Sept. 18 that year for Kan's visit to the United States to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting, the head of the then Japanese government led by the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan told Maehara and other senior Foreign Ministry officials to "return the captain to China," Maehara said Tuesday.

Kan looked concerned about a possible impact of the incident on the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, in November the same year, according to Maehara, now a member of the major opposition Democratic Party for the People.

After the study meeting, Maehara informed then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku of "the prime minister's wish," the former foreign minister said. The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, released the captain of the Chinese ship later in September 2010.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press