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Japan must take firm stand on Senkakus: fishing boat captain

Below is the Sankei Shimbun’s interview with Kazushi Kinjo, captain of the Zuihomaru fishing boat. Recently, the Zuihomaru has been pursued on several occasions by China Coast Guard vessels in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands.


Kinjo: The Zuihomaru is used sometimes to take people out for recreational fishing. Due to the new coronavirus outbreak, customer traffic dropped to zero. Fishermen must fish to make a living. If we fish in the waters near Yonaguni Island, we will exhaust the fish stocks and there will be no fish left in the winter. That is why I decided to fish near Uotsuri Island, one of the Senkaku Islands. The sea is calm there this time of year.


Around 5:00 p.m. on May 8, Chinese vessels approached us. We left the territorial waters because a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) vessel told us to. Our livelihood is at stake, though, so we went back [later that day] to the waters around Uotsuri Island. The China Coast Guard vessels approached us again. The Chinese vessels were watching us, but they did not harm us.


At night, we wanted to anchor near Uotsuri Island because it was windy. The JCG said we should not do that, so we anchored out at sea and slept. Later a JCG member told us that [the Chinese vessels] had been very close [to us during the night].


While we were on our way back to Yonaguni on May 10, we saw the Chinese vessels ahead of us. The JCG told us to be on alert, but the Chinese vessels did not obstruct our travel. It was not as dangerous as people may think. However, it is problematic that Chinese vessels are sailing in the territorial waters of Senkakus. If the Japanese government does not take a firm stand, it will not be able to protect our country.


The waters near the Senkakus are rich in resources. Horse mackerel, mackerel, and squid lay their eggs in these waters. Because China does not have fishery regulations, Chinese fishing boats strip the area of these fishery resources. I would like everyone to understand that it will be very problematic if the waters around the Senkaku Islands are taken.

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