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Japan arrests seven Chinese on Diaoyutai Island
The Epoch Times
3/28/2004

On March 24, seven members of Protect Diaoyutai Islands Chinese Alliance landed on Diaoyutai Island and were subsequently arrested by Japanese police. Japan has lodged a complaint with a Chinese embassy in Japan. So far the two governments have both asked the other party to handle this matter calmly.
The members of the Protect Diaoyutai Islands Chinese Alliance set off on March 23 from Zhejiang Province, China on a fishing boat headed to Diaoyutai Island, according to a Liberty Times report. They were spotted by Japanese police the next morning. The Japanese police asked them to leave, but the Chinese expedition ignored them. They launched two rafts carrying seven people to the island. The seven waved China’s flag after they successfully landed to demonstrate sovereignty over the island.

Eighteen Japanese policemen arrived by helicopters and arrested the seven people. They are now in Okinawa, Japan undergoing questioning.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasuo Fukuda said that Diaoyutai Island has always been a part of Japan’s territory. Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yukio Takeuchi has already met with Chinese Ambassador, Dawei Wu to lodge a complaint.

Besides reaffirming Japan’s sovereignty over Diaoyutai Island, Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi also called on the Chinese government to “properly handle this matter.” He said that though it seemed unusual to arrest those Chinese people, it was legal. When asked about how this would affect Japan-China relations, he said, “What’s important is that both parties should stay as calm as possible.” Koizumi’s annual visit to the controversial war shrine has already caused tension between the two nations.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement after the arrest of the landing party, asking Japan to treat the individuals calmly without hurting them.

Editor’s Note: The Diaoyutai Islands (Senkaku in Japanese) are a group of eight uninhabited islands located northeast of Taiwan. Japan, China, and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over the islands, which are 500 km (310 miles) from Japan's Okinawa Island and 140 km (87 miles) from Taiwan. The dispute over the islands flared in the early 1970s after oil deposits were confirmed in the area by a United Nations agency. The islands are currently administered by Japan.

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