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Japan urged to release detained Taiwanese crew members

Japan urged to release detained Taiwanese crew members

Japanese authorities should immediately release three detained crew members of a sunken Taiwanese fishing boat and offer an apology and compensation, a lawmaker said in Taipei Wednesday.
While the crew members were still being detained in Japan for questioning, 13 recreational fishermen who were rescued from the sunken vessel returned to Taiwan Wednesday.
Conflicting reports said the boat sank six nautical miles either to the south or southwest of the Tiaoyutai Islands, or Senkaku Islands in Japanese, after colliding with the Japanese vessel on Tuesday.
Taiwanese fishing boats are often chased away by Japanese patrol vessels in the disputed waters near the Tiaoyutais, which Taiwan, Japan and China all claim as their sovereign territory, but collisions there are rare.
Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua asked the government to assert Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutais and step up efforts to protect Taiwan's fishing boats in the disputed waters.
Lee said at a press conference that the Tiaoyutais -- which are believed to have rich reserves of oil and natural gas -- are under the jurisdiction of northeastern Taiwan's Yilan County.
At the press conference, Peter Tsai, executive director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Committee on Japanese Affairs, said that "the government's stance on Taiwan's sovereignty over the Tiaoyutai Islands has remained consistent."
Tsai said that after the collision, ministry officials immediately visited the crew members and fishermen who were taken by Japanese patrol guards to Ishigaki, an island in Japan's Okinawan chain some 200 kilometers south of the disputed islands.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andrew Hsia also expressed his concerns to Japan's representative to Taiwan and asked Japan to treat the Taiwanese crew members and fishermen well, Tsai said.
Hsia also urged Japan to investigate what happened, which will help define each side's responsibility, said Tsai, adding that the foreign ministry will continue to negotiate with Japanese authorities over the matter.


Updated : 2021-02-25 19:30 GMT+08:00