By Hadano Tsukasa
Beijing – The Japanese government has called on the Chinese government not to allow Chinese fishing boats to enter the waters near Okinawa’s Senkaku Islands. Tokyo sent the notice before Beijing’s scheduled lifting of its fishing moratorium in the East China Sea on Aug. 16. Beijing reacted sharply to this by saying that “Japan should thoroughly tighten controls on its own fishing boats.”
The Japanese Embassy in Beijing sent the notice to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the end of July. Back in August 2016, as many as 200 to 300 Chinese fishing boats, including government ships, flooded into the waters near the Senkakus upon the lifting of a fishing moratorium by Chinese authorities. The Japanese government is concerned this may happen again.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, from January to April this year, the government warned 80 Chinese boats that were operating illegally around the Senkakus to leave Japanese waters. In 2020, it issued a warning to a total of 138 ships.
In recent years, Chinese authorities have been telling their fishing operators not to go near the Senkakus. In 2020, they issued a notice warning Chinese fishing operators “not to operate in sensitive waters.”
Since the beginning of this year, Japan has been closely working with the U.S. to ramp up its engagement with Taiwan. The Japanese side is wary that China may take some retaliatory action. (Abridged)