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Japanese, Taiwanese Coast Guard cutters collide at sea

Date Posted: 2012-07-13

The waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in southern Okinawa Prefecture are proving more dangerous as more people and more vessels ply the region’s ocean.

Coast Guard cutters from Taiwan and the Japan Coast Guard “bumped into” each other near the Senkakus southwest of Okinawa while the Taiwanese vessel was escorting a group of small activist vessels. Taiwan claims the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese, while Japan claims the islands known as the Senkakus.

A Japan Coast Guard official says the Taiwanese ship “was moving in the same direction as the Japan Coast Guard cutter, then bumped into it and scratched the paint.” He says “there were no injuries in the incident.” Taiwan vessels have been entering the challenged waters since 2008, escorting activists who want to see the islands returned to Taiwan. China also claims ownership of the uninhabited islands.

In late 2010, a Chinese fishing trawler captain was arrested after he crashed his ship into two Japanese patrol boats. That weeks-long standoff ended when Japan released the captain in a move that most perceived as a loss for Japan.

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