The activists in Taiwan that attempted to sail to the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands a little over a week ago and were turned away by the Japan Coast Guard have gone to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and accused the commander of attempted murder after the use of water cannons. Huang Tingwei and another colleague have filed a lawsuit for roughly $169,000 in compensations for the damage done to their boat on January 24th.
The incident saw seven people on the Taiwanese fishing boat try to reach the Japan-controlled territory in order to protect the country’s claim to the valuable fishing waters. Before they could reach the islands, eight Japan Coast Guard ships warned them to turn back, and prevented their passage by using non-lethal water cannons. While no injuries were reported, Huang says no warning was issued before the canons were fired, and now the fishing boat is in need of many expensive repairs. The Taipei prosecutors have accepted the case, but noted that not enough evidence has been presented, however the activist says he will submit more materials to support his charges.
Another activist from mainland China who helped organized the trip, Li Yiqiang of the World Chinese Alliance in Defense of the Diaoyu Islands, has admitted that there is little chance Japanese authorities will respond to the lawsuit, however they must try in order to further exercise their sovereignty over the disputed territory. One Chinese analyst notes that the only time Japan has paid compensation for damage to a Chinese boat was in 2008 through diplomatic channels, but he adds that this case is more symbolic and meant as a way to attract the attention of the public and government to the issue of the islands.[via Global Times]