Chinese fishing flotilla not seen heading for Senkakus

 

Information that a large number of Chinese fishing boats are heading for the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture is false, the chief of a Japan Coast Guard office in the southern prefecture says.

Hiroshi Majima, who heads the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, told Okinawa Lieutenant Governor Yoshiyuki Uehara visiting the office that talk of the fishing season’s start and the departures of Chinese boats from their ports may have been misunderstood.  According to the coast guard headquarters, China’s fishing season stops every year in June-September in the East China Sea, where the islands are located. This year, the ban was lifted on Sunday.

According to Uehara, Majima told him said that there is no evidence that Chinese fishing boats are gathering near Okinawa.  In their meeting, Uehara requested the coast guard ensure the safety of Okinawa fishermen who operate in waters around to the islands.

Earlier in the week, reports were circulating that as many as 1,000 Chinese fishing vessels were heading toward the disputed islands, threatening to trigger unexpected confrontations between the Chinese vessels and Japan Coast Guard patrol boats.

The falsely reported moves by Chinese fishing boats, following a brief incursion last Friday into Japanese territorial waters around the islands by a fleet of six Chinese maritime surveillance ships, was believed to be another show of Chinese protests against the Japanese government’s acquisition last week of some of the islands to nationalize them.

The six Chinese ships, including the Haijian 51 and Haijian 66 surveillance vessels, were in Japanese waters around Taishojima, one of the five main islets, for more than eight hours.  The four others were near the Kubajima.

Taiwan’s President, Ma Ying-jeou, continues to urge Japan to take positive actions to guarantee that Taiwanese fishermen can still operate in the disputed East China Sea waters.