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Japan arrests Chinese activists over Diaoyu Islands issue on anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender


08:06, August 16, 2012

TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Police in Okinawa Prefecture on Wednesday arrested 14 Chinese activists including seven who landed on the Diaoyu Islands, located in the East China Sea.

According to the Japanese Coast Guard, seven activists landed on the Islands at around 5:50 p.m. local time. Okinawa police earlier arrested five as two had returned to their vessel.

The five were initially arrested on suspicion of illegal entry, local reports said.

"Two of the activists soon returned to the boat. The Coast Guard and the police questioned the remaining five on the island before arresting them on charges of illegally entering Japanese territory," Japan's national public broadcaster NHK said, confirming local media reports.

The Coast Guard said the fishing vessel was carrying 14 activists, with local police saying they came from areas in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macao, with the boat departing from Hong Kong harbor on Sunday and entering the waters near the disputed islands on Wednesday at around 3:50 p.m., against warnings from the Japanese Coast Guard.

The vessel displayed a banner declaring that "China cannot give up an inch of its territory" and the occupants of the boat were heard singing the Chinese national anthem as they landed on the shore of the island, local media reports stated.

"We have achieved our goal successfully in claiming our sovereign rights to the world. The action exceeds our expectations and we've accomplished our objective faster than expected," local media quoted Chan Yu-nam, vice-chairman of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, the group behind Wednesday's landing, as saying.

The group's Chairman Chan Miu-tak said the purpose of the landing was to plant China's flag to assert its sovereignty over the uninhabited islands, but said the activists were under strict orders to avoid any physical confrontations with the Japanese side and to abort the mission should any incidents occur.

The Japanese Coast Guard deployed around nine vessels to follow the single fishing boat once the boat was within 30 kilometers of the isles, one of the activists from the committee was quoted by local press as telling reporters in Hong Kong on the phone.

The activist also said the Japanese Coast Guard used water cannons and sailed their vessels close to the fishing boat in bid to grant access and prevent the landing, according to local media reports.
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