TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the past year the number of Taiwanese fishing vessels reportedly trespassing in Japanese fisheries has increased threefold over the number reported in 2017.
Japanese authorities have already lodged a protest with the Taiwanese government over the increase in fishing vessels claimed to have violated the Taiwan-Japan Fisheries agreement, which was recently updated this year.
Japanese Coast Guard reports that Taiwanese vessels violated Japan’s EEZ 310 times so far in 2018, as compared to only 96 times in 2017.
According to a report at UDN, most of the violations reported by Japan involve fishing vessels intruding into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around the islands of Okinawa Prefecture, and the Dioayu Islands, which Japan calls the “Senkaku Islands.”
The EEZ extends 200 nautical miles from a nation’s shores, however because of the territorial dispute around the Diaoyu Islands involving Japan, Taiwan, as well as China, Taiwanese vessels do not acknowledge any Japanese EEZ around the Diaoyutai islands.
However, in March of 2018 Taiwan and Japan introduced a new fisheries' pact building upon a previous agreement made in 2013, which allows for bilateral access to the fisheries surrounding the disputed islands.
The agreement established a triangular zone situated around the Diaoyu Islands, and along the Yaeyama Islands at the southern edge of the Ryukyu Island Chain. The zone is open for fishing by each state provided each government regulates the number of ships and catches in the area.
(Wikimedia Commons Image)
It is possible that the higher number of reported trespasses is simply the result of miscommunication between the respective fishery agencies, the Japanese Coast Guard and Taiwanese fishing vessels.
In June 2018, the Japanese government announced that high schools in the country would introduce textbooks which include describe the Diaoyu Islands as Japanese territory.
Following the announcement, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an official statement that the Diaoyu Islands are still Taiwanese territory, despite being administered by Japan.