Japan to Ask China to Pay for Damaged Boats

Japan has said it will ask China to pay for the damage to two Japanese patrol boats caused when a Chinese fishing ship collided with the vessels earlier this month. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku announced Japan’s plans Monday, and said it is up to China to start repairing relations between the two countries. His remarks came a day after Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan rejected China’s repeated demand for an apology and compensation for the detention of the Chinese fishing boat captain. The captain was detained by Japan after the crash, and was released on Saturday.

Mr. Kan said the group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea where the incident happened are an integral part of Japanese territory. The islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, are claimed by both countries. The waters around the islands are rich fishing territory and are believed to hold undersea natural gas and oil reserves. Hours after the captain’s release, China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the man’s detention unlawful and asking Japan to apologize. The dispute took diplomatic relations between the two countries to their lowest level in years – Voanews