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Taiwan negotiating with Japan over detained Taiwanese fishing boat

Taiwan negotiating with Japan over detained Taiwanese fishing boat

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday that it is negotiating with Japan for the speedy release of a Taiwanese fishing boat and its crew that have been held by the Japanese authorities for allegedly intruding into Japan's waters. Anna Kao, the ministry's spokeswoman, said Taiwan's representative office in Japan has been keeping in close contact with the Japanese authorities since learning of the detention of the Taiwanese fishing boat late Wednesday. The Suao-based Chun Ho Feng No. 166 was detained a day earlier for allegedly poaching in waters about 20 kilometers northeast of Kuchinoshima Island (also known as Mouth Island) off Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture, according to Japan's Kyodo News. The news agency said the boat's 59-year-old Taiwanese skipper, Chien Lien-chun, was arrested on suspicion of illegally operating in Japan's territorial waters.
Japan dispatched three patrol vessels to stop the Taiwanese fishing boat after a Japanese patrol plane spotted it, the report said.
The Suao Fishermen's Association in Yilan County, northeastern Taiwan said the 65-ton longline fishing boat departed Nanfanao Nov. 2 with a crew of nine -- the Taiwanese skipper and the chief engineer Chen Wen-hung, three Filipino and four Chinese deckhands. Kao said the fishing boat is being held at Kagoshima and that the two sides are discussing the situation.
"We hope Japan will release both the boat and its crew as soon as possible," Kao added.
(By Angela Tsai and Sofia Wu)