News / Asia

Japan to Release Chinese Trawler Captain Involved in Boat Collision

Multimedia

Audio

Japanese prosecutors say they will release a Chinese trawler captain who has been detained since his boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels in disputed waters. The incident enraged China, which retaliated by canceling meetings with Japanese officials and, traders say, halting shipments of essential exports.

Heavy security was apparent in front of the Japanese embassy in Beijing Friday, although there were few signs of the scattered protests that had taken place in recent weeks.

China sends plane

Shortly after Japanese prosecutors said they would free a detained Chinese boat captain, China said it would send a chartered plane to bring him back home.

Japanese authorities detained the captain earlier this month after his fishing boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near islands Tokyo controls and China claims.

China called his detention illegal, and canceled diplomatic meetings and student visits. There were reports this week that Beijing also halted shipments to Japan of rare earth minerals, which are essential for electronics and auto parts.

Conflict avoided

Japanese officials say they decided to free the captain to avoid worsening ties with China.

Tsinghua University international relations professor Liu Jiangyong says he thinks the timing of Japan's decision to release the Chinese captain is good.

Liu says if the Japanese had pursued legal action against the captain, it would have further worsened relations between the two countries, and would have damaged economic opportunities.

China has been Japan's biggest trading partner since 2009.

Dispute over Diaoyu vs Senkaku

The dispute over the islands has long festered between the two nations. The seabed around the uninhabited islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu and the Japanese call the Senkaku, is believed to be rich in natural gas and other resources.

The dispute also underscores the fragility of ties still troubled by disputes over Japan's behavior before and during World War Two.

Therese Leung, an associate fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, says she thinks the Chinese response in this case was excessive.

"The last thing I'd want to do is to not appear mature and reasonable and ready," Leung said. "And I think that their (China's) response to Japan has not been mature and reasonable."

Leung, who has worked for years in the U.S. Congress and for the government in Washington, says the United States has been watching the China-Japan spat closely.

Neighbors watch closely

Southeast Asian countries also have been closely watching developments.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar, at the Habibie Center's Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in Jakarta, says she was concerned.

"So, the increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Beijing threatening Japan and so on, I think sends a rather unwelcome news to the rest of the region," said Anwar. "We don't know whether this is a reflection of China's overall assertiveness, its increasing self-confidence, and so on, but it doesn't give China a very good image in the wider Asian region."

Southeast Asian nations also have territorial disputes with China – over the Spratly and Paracel island chains – in the South China Sea. Those uninhabited islands also are believed to lie on top of rich gas deposits.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More