Source: AFP | 2013-2-4 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
JAPAN released the captain and crew of a Chinese boat yesterday after they had been detained on suspicion of illegal fishing.
The 100-ton coral fishing boat with a crew of 13 was stopped on Saturday by a Japanese coast guard vessel in waters 45 kilometers northeast of Miyako island in the southern Okinawan chain.
The skipper and his crew were released after the Chinese consulate general in Fukuoka submitted a bail guarantee, Xinhua news agency reported.
The boat left Miyako for China late last night.
The Japanese coast guard said on Saturday that the captain had been arrested on suspicion of fishing in an exclusive maritime zone without permission from Japan.
Miyako is about 210 kilometers from the Diaoyu Islands, currently the subject of a dispute between the nations.
The arrest came on the same day Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toured the southern region of Okinawa near the islands, where he vowed to defend Japan against "provocations."
Abe's comments came in the same week his government approved a rise in defense spending for the first time in over a decade, explicitly aimed at beefing up "defense" of the island chain.
Chinese government ships have routinely circled the islands since September, when the Japanese government "purchased" some of them from a so-called private owner.
Chinese planes have also sporadically crossed the airspace over them.