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Taiwan-Japan fishery rights meet set for Wednesday in Tokyo

ROC Central News Agency

2013/03/12 15:17:33

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) Taiwan and Japan will hold the next preparatory meeting for a new round of bilateral fishery talks in Tokyo on Wednesday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday.

Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Calvin Ho, who confirmed the time and place of the encounter, declined to reveal the issues that will be on the meeting's agenda. He said the ministry will announce the results of the one-day talks when they are finished.

"We have reached a consensus with Japan" to not provide more details before the meeting, he said.

The Taiwanese delegation to the meeting will be headed by Chou Shyue-yow, an official with Taiwan's representative office in Tokyo, and also include Foreign Ministry and Fisheries Agency officials.

Japan's delegation will be led by Michihiko Komatsu, head of the Interchange Association's general affairs section, he said.

Komatsu was also Japan's lead negotiator at an initial preparatory meeting that took place in Tokyo on Nov. 30, 2012, with little progress being made.

Taiwan's team was led by Chang Jen-chiu, who was serving in the country's representative office at the time, but Chang has since returned to Taiwan as part of a normal rotation, Ho said, with Chou taking his place.

The closed-door meeting will take place at the association's headquarters in Tokyo, the association said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The association, which represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, also said it will release a statement after the meeting is finished.

Taiwan and Japan have held 16 formal rounds of talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories since 1996, the most recent coming in 2009.

But no new talks have been held since then due to differences on how to resolve the cross-border fishery disputes that mostly involve waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea.

The two countries are hoping that a series of substantive preparatory meetings will help iron out some of the differences and improve the chances of success of a 17th round of talks.

The Diaoyutais lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. They have been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

Taiwanese fishermen consider the waters near the islands to be their traditional fishing grounds, but they are routinely chased away from the area by Japanese authorities when they venture too close to what Japan sees as its territorial waters.

(By Elaine Hou)



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