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Okinawans want Chinese trawler captain indicted

Date Posted: 2011-07-01

An independent judicial panel of Okinawa citizens has decided that the Chinese captain of a trawler that clashed with a pair of Japan Coast Guard patrol boats last September should be indicted for damaging the vessels.

The 42-year-old captain should be brought to justice, the independent panel announced, declaring his actions warrant an indictment for his moves in crashing his fishing vessel into the Japan Coast Guard ships while they were performing their official duties.

Earlier, the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office had decided not to indict Zhan Qixiong because of diplomatic concerns. Relations between China and Japan became strained after the September 7th incident near the Senkaku Islands, a cluster of islands administered by Japan but claimed as sovereign territory by both China and Taiwan.

Okinawa officials concede that, despite the independent panelís ruling, it is unlikely that the Chinese would honor an extradition request. Zhan was returned to China some weeks following the incident.

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