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Japan mulls bill over sea clashes

By Guo Kai (Global Times)

09:09, February 23, 2012

Japan is seeking to boost the authority of its Coast Guard officers, allowing them to investigate and arrest foreigners "illegally entering remote islands," in response to a 2010 conflict between a Chinese fishing boat and the Japanese Coast Guard (JCG) in the Diaoyu Islands, according to Japanese media.

A bill being prepared for submission to the current ordinary Diet session will revise the Japan Coast Guard Law and the Law on Navigation of Ships through the Territorial Sea and Internal Waters, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.

The amendment was proposed in reaction to the 2010 incident, said Kyodo News.

"The revision of the laws shows that Japan is paying more attention to the East China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands," said Yang Bojiang, director of Japanese Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"On the economic side, Japan is willing to earn dividends from China's rapid development, and on the security side, Japan is maintaining high alert and guarding against China."

China and Japan claim exclusive rights to economic zones overlapping in the East China Sea, and Chinese fishing boats have repeatedly been driven out of the Diaoyu Islands by Japanese patrol boats.

In 2010, a Chinese trawler collided with two JCG patrol boats. The trawler's captain, Zhan Qixiong, was arrested on suspicion of "obstructing public duties" in connection with the collisions. Zhan was later released following strong protests from the Chinese government.

The Japanese government then considered enhancing the JCG's policing authority, as its activities are currently limited to "crimes committed at sea."

The revised law would empower JCG officers to come ashore and launch investigations, question suspicious persons to determine if they entered illegally, and arrest anyone suspected of violating the immigration control law.

Though the list of remote islands will be decided through consultations between the JCG commandant and the commissioner general of the National Police Agency, Chinese observers have speculated that Japan would include the Diaoyu Islands in the list.

The revised law would bolster Japanese coast guards' ability to investigate and arrest non-Japanese nationals who enter the Diaoyu Islands, observers said.

On Sunday, a Chinese patrol ship demanded that two Japanese survey ships leave the waters of the Diaoyu Islands, as the two ships were drawing up nautical charts, reports said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that China's stance on the East China Sea remains clear and consistent, and it opposes unilateral actions from either side.

"China is fulfilling its law enforcement duties in waters that are part of its territory, and there is no doubt that China has sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands," Yang said.


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

ming at 2012-02-2358.11.184.*
If Japan deny her past invasions and atrocities towards China, Korea and southeast Asias countries...before and during WWII. Japan will learn a bitter lesson than before..Watch out...!!
helen at 2012-02-23203.82.92.*
The Japanese government and its elites are reviving their militarism with the backing of the United States. They are still pacing the corridors of yesterday"s dreams and fantasies. The World has changed and Asia has not forgotten the Japanese invasions and atrocities during the last two World Wars! Better for them to declare "Neutrality" and focus on economic developments than be tools of US Global Tyranny!

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