Japan defends chasing Taiwanese boat as within its rights
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 7 (CNA) Japanese patrol vessels acted within their rights when they chased a Taiwanese fishing boat over the weekend after it entered Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and operated there without permission, an official from Japan's representative office in Taiwan said Wednesday.
The Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 fishing vessel, registered in Su'ao, Yilan County, was caught fishing in Japan's EEZ on Saturday, the official at the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, who asked not to be named, told CNA Wednesday.
Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol vessels approached the Taiwanese boat, demanding it stop, but it fled and the Japanese vessels gave chase, the official added.
On Sunday, the Taiwanese fishing boat once again entered Japan's EEZ -- though on this occasion it did so carrying a group of recreational anglers.
As soon as patrol boats from the Japanese Fisheries Agency discovered it was the same ship as on Saturday, they demanded the Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 stop and cooperate with their investigation into the previous day's events, but the Taiwanese vessel again refused to comply.
Believing the Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 fled to escape inspection, the Japanese patrol boats chased, the official said.
Japan handled the incident within its rights and has asked the Taiwan government to punish fishing vessels found to be operating illegally in Japanese waters, the official said.
The Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association represents Japan's interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Taiwan has protested the incident, criticizing Japan's enforcement of the law as excessive.
Although the Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 did violate regulations governing operations within the overlapping area of Taiwan's and Japan's EEZs, the decision by Japanese patrol boats to water-cannon the Taiwanese vessel was excessive, Taiwan's Fisheries Agency said in a statement.
(By Elaine Hou and Elizabeth Hsu)
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