A Chinese fishing boat that was found to have entered territorial waters over the weekend remains detained by the Japan Coast Guard. The captain, Lin Shiqin, has been arrested for the illegal harvesting of coral from within the 200 nautical mile Japanese exclusive economic zone. Coast guard officials say the boat, from Fujian province, was spotted by a patrol aircraft on Saturday about 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Yakushima, a small island in southern Japan.
Captain Lin as admitting to entering Japan’s territorial waters but denies the coral fishing allegations. However, the coast guard found roughly 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of coral onboard the ship. Chinese media has also reported the detainment of the boat and its crew being taken to Kagoshima for questioning. The Chinese government has extended additional requests for the safety and rights of the fishermen to be observed.
China’s fishing boats are often seen as entering waters far to the east of their territories in order to make up for the lack of supply closer to the shores. This incident comes amid heated tensions between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. While already under Japanese control, the territory was officially purchased by the government in mid-September. This triggered outrage from the Chinese people, resulting in protests and destruction of property, along with the dissolution of diplomatic ties between the two countries.[via Financial Times]