Japan Deports Chinese Nationals From Diaoyu Islands
Created: 2012-08-17 13:33 EST
On Friday, Japan deported a group of 14 Chinese nationals who landed on the Diaoyu I on August 15th. The incident escalated tensions between Japan and China over the ownership of the islands.
The Japanese government flew half the group from the city of Okinawan. They arrived in Hong Kong late Friday evening local time. Japanese coastguards escorted the remaining individuals out of Japanese waters. They are reported to be in good health.
Although Japan denies expediting the Chinese nationals back to their homelands for political reasons, the Chinese regime had voiced strong opposition to the group’s detention. Protestors also forced security to be stepped up outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.
Tokyo’s nationalist governor criticized the prime minister for giving into pressure from China and immediately returning the Chinese nationals.
[Tetsuro Suzuki, 63-year-old retiree]:
"Japan is not prepared to go to war any time soon but at the same time if in Japan we don't take any action we open ourselves up to criticism (by Japanese citizens), so the government needs to take their time to examine the situation, that's really their only choice."
In 2010 when a Chinese fishing vessel intentionally ran into two police ships near the Diaoyu Islands, Japanese police detained the fisherman for two weeks. China cut off trade relations on rare earth metals and other goods to force the return of the fishermen.
China and Japan have competing claims over the Diaoyu Islands, called the Senkaku Islands in Japanese. Japan has had control of the islands most recently but China asserts ownership of the islands dating back to the 17th century.