Japan Caves In To Chinese Pressure: Releases Trawler Captain

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    The Chinese trawler captain who was arrested for ramming two Japanese coast guard patrol ships is going to be released without any charges:

    The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office said Friday that it has decided to free a detained Chinese fishing boat captain involved in collisions at sea early this month near a chain of disputed islets.

    The Chinese captain was arrested on Sept. 8 by Japanese investigative authorities on suspicion of causing his ship to collide with a Japan Coast Guard vessel near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

    More from the Wall Street Journal:

    Japan has been deemed overwhelmingly the loser in the strange game of chicken that’s been escalating between Beijing and Tokyo over the past week — at least judging from a sampling of the immediate vitriolic reaction toward Tokyo in the virtual world.

    In the seconds after Japan announced it would release the Chinese ship captain who has been in Japanese custody, Tokyo’s decision was lambasted as weak and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan as unable to govern.

    “This nation really does not have foreign policy and has no ability…it’s a shame that [Japan] easily gave up their last cards. They [Chinese] are shaking us up badly,” moaned one person on Twitter. Another said more simply: “How do you say ‘cave’ in Chinese?” Yet another tweeted: “Due to the DPJ, democracy and the notion of a nation’s sovereignty are about to be lost. I’m amazed to see their inability to govern. They’re worse than the LDP which was in power before.”

    Ever gentlemanly, an official from the Okinawa prosecutors’ office said at a hastily called press conference Friday afternoon: “We decided it was inappropriate to continue the investigation while keeping the suspect in custody any further, considering the future of the Japan-China relationship,”

    Japan had originally insisted that it would not allow foreign political pressure to decide how its prosecutors enforce the law within Japanese territory, but it looks like they weren’t prepared to stick to their principals. It sends a clear message to China: the next time it wants Japan to cave in and do its bidding, it need only throw a big tantrum and detain a few Japanese citizens.

    Hopefully, the fact that the prosecutor’s office will no be taking this case to trial will mean that the videotape of the ramming can now be shown to the general public. We might at last be able to put aside the controversy over who rammed who, although it doesn’t much matter anymore because the Japanese government proved to be too cowardly to enforce its own laws within territory it claims is part of Japan.


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