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China rejects Japanese demand for ship repairs

Date Posted: 2011-02-18

The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected Saturday a Japanese demand that the captain of a Chinese trawler pay the cost of repairs of two Japanese Coast Guard patrol boats damaged in a collision near disputed East China Sea islands last September.

The Japan Coast Guard had demanded that the trawler captain pay the repair costs, with the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha sending a letter to the captain demanding he pay エ14.29 million. There is little chance such damages would be paid, a Japanese government official said of the Coast Guard demand of エ12.39 million for repairs to the two damaged ships, エ1.9 million in fuel and other expenses as well as 5% annual interest in delayed payment.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the Japanese side should deeply regret its action in the incident instead, stressing that Tokyo has no right to ask for compensation. The statement also emphasized that the islands are an inherent part of China.

The captain was arrested on charges of obstructing the public duties of Japan Coast Guard officers in the Sep. 7 collision between his ship and a coast guard patrol vessel near the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Japanese prosecutors released the skipper on Sep. 25 and decided on Jan. 21 not to charge him.

If the Chinese skipper refuses to pay or ignores the demand, the coast guard will send him a reminder letter, an official said. Koichiro Ichimura, Parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism says it is understandable that the coast guard should receive money because it was the victim.

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