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China holding 4 Japanese for illegally filming military targets

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Sounds like a set up to me. Something that China can trade for the boat ramming captain.

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One fisherman vs four construction workers...seems unfair business practice.

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something is not right here.....how did they catch "spies" so quickly.....and don't spies work alone...and they caught 4 of them taking pictures at the same TIME?!! OMG, either Japanese M.I. must be really stupid, or China must be setting this up.

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Doesn't matter if it's a set up. China is going back to hardline communist approach toward Japan. They are pissed off. There is going to be more and more bogus accusations toward Japanese living in China. This is real wake up call for Japan.

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Sounds like a set-up. Can Japanese, or anyone for that matter, so easily walk into a "military zone"? Wouldn't there be lots of military around to see that this does not happen? It must have been a sensitive area if they arrest people for entering. Stinks. But probably there will be an exchange for the fisherman.

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The company I work for is locating near a air-force base, and sometimes I took pictures of those awesome planes that flew by us; I bet those pictures will be consider pretty valuable "military intel" by Chinese standard.

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OssanAmerica at 07:22 AM JST - 24th September Sounds like a set up to me. Something that China can trade for the boat ramming captain.

Ossan is right on the money.

sfjp330 at 07:40 AM JST - 24th September Doesn't matter if it's a set up. China is going back to hardline >communist approach toward Japan. They are pissed off. There is going to >be more and more bogus accusations toward Japanese living in China. >This is real wake up call for Japan.

And for China!

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I am not an expert, but four entering a military zone looks like a little big group for filming espionage undetected.

“after receiving a report about their illegal activities.”

That imply that four guys with a digital video camera wander inside a chinese military zone filming military targets and the chinese security noticed only after they got a phone call?

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This is the real China.

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Maybe they were checking to see if they could use the chemical weapons for their originally intended purpose.

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Sounds like a bunch of crap to me.

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Heh, Maybe Japan should arrest a few Chinese tourists for spitting on the sidewalk or some other ludicrous charge, and hold em for awhile in retaliation.

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The four Japanese Fujita employees and one Chinese guide visited there. The guide took them to the place. But it seems to be nothing about the Chinese guide.

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Trumped up charges like this or "Revealing state secrets" is standard operating procedure in China and could result in a long prison term.

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I hate to say this, but I predicted this move over a week ago. It's typical cold-war era politics, and we all know how amazingly stupid and childish those were.

China has made a mountain out of a molehill, but at the end of the day the Chinese are offering Japan a "get out of Jail free" card with these 4 Japanese tourists. A simple exchange, 4 Japanese tourists for 1 Chinese Fisherman makes a LOT of sense. Japan gets to come away looking like it got the better of the deal (4 for 1 special!), and gets a darned good reason to discourage tourism to China while still allowing the Chinese to come to Japan, which will generate a currency surplus allowing Japan to buy Chinese goods with yuan from their own tourists and in the end closer trading ties will result in this issue being brushed under the carpet again.

In an ideal world that's what would happen. ... Unfortunately Japan seems to be entering another of it's isolationist periods. The political rhetoric around America, China, and even domestic politics around "race" (an idiotic concept that has no scientific basis), all show the tell-tale signs of Japan making it's cyclical swing from open back to closed. I hope Japan can avoid this, but I suspect that there's something in the Japanese social dynamic that makes this pretty much inevitable. I don't expect a rational or reasonable resolution to this.

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well, just like the whole story of the two boats ramming, both countries are giving limited details as to the circumstances of each incident. who exactly rammed who, and did the chinese govt actually know about the purpose of the pictures???

semperfi, have you ever been to or lived in china to make that all encompassing view, and what exactly is 'real china' in your estimation, please the board is open, explain your theory.

china said it would retaliate if the captain of the boat was not released. he wasnt, so they retaliated. simple, isnt it? they also retaliated by putting a ban on all export of precious materials to japan. china holds some 90 percent of the precious materials industry which is used to make such things as cell phones, LCD crystal TVs, etc.

Now really, what are japan's intentions with regard to a captain of a small fishing vessel that happened to have dropped his line in the wrong place at the wrong time, and got in a what amounts to a traffic accident on the high seas? are japan's intentions here not in some way twisted?

they risk the collapse of diplomatic relations, a severe blow to a multibillion dollar electronics industry, and also risk upsetting what is the world's strongest country economically, a threatening force politically, and militarily a modern world superpower for what??? a fishing boat captain who was caught fishing in disputed, insignificant waters??? tell me, who has gone too far here?

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a fishing boat captain who was caught fishing in disputed, insignificant waters???

I thought it was ramming against coastguard ship and thats why he was caught?

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The great damage by Japanese govenment has been done and they've destroyed trust that was build up for last three decades overnight. Face the facts, China is moving to target the Japan's already ailing economy immediately. This will become real soon. The stubborn holding of civilian captain is going to be a nightmare for Japan's economy.

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Over the last couple of days, there have been stories that shipments to Japanese companies have been "delayed", and now the arrest of Japanese nationals on espionage charges.

Time to start rethinking China as a manufacturing source. If this is how they react when a fisherman is arrested, how will they react if it is something important?

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Ahh, China . . .

Didn't see this one coming. Nope.

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hokkaidoguy at 08:53 AM JST - 24th September

Over the last couple of days, there have been stories that shipments to Japanese companies have been "delayed", and now the arrest of Japanese nationals on espionage charges. Time to start rethinking China as a manufacturing source. If this is how they react when a fisherman is arrested, how will they react if it is something important?

Perhaps this egiptian ad sum up China's foreign policy to Asian countries lately.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X21mJh6j9i4#!

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"Some observers said China may use the four people to put further pressure on Japan to free a Chinese fishing boat captain it detained over a ship collision near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea."

Gee, ya think? It's certainly no coincidence.

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Well time to pull out of China, recall our ambassador from China. Also send out a message for all Japanese to leave China. The Chinese will round them up as hostages soon. In the meantime trade the Captain for our people. The Oji-sans will lose a lot of money but perhaps trade sanctions can be done through the world trade organization. With proper sanctions China will go broke.

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"The stubborn holding of civilian captain is going to be a nightmare for Japan's economy."

Seriously doubt that. Japan is China's largest trading partner after the US and depends on Japan for manufacturing jobs and a market for Chinese goods.

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This story is not being reported by Chinese news (cable broadcast of CCTV this morning and People's Daily).

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tit for tat...you capture one of ours and we will capture four of yours (for whatever reason).

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Under a communist government making a statement like "our leader is an idiot" is considered "revealing state secrets"!

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And so it begins.........stay tuned!

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Ahh yes China showing it's maturity and diplomatic skills, now we see the true face of China!

As for some peoples assertions that China holds the big stick because of rare minerals, well on the other hand all the things these minerals are used in are mostly foreign (Japanese) patents.

And I'm old enough to know that other countries have tried this crap of "we have the raw materials you need so you must listen" and in every case it backfired.

China's economy is based on a very slim margin of profit and any interruption would hit hard, I wonder who actually has the deeper pockets in an economic hold out, Japan in 3dr place and 127 million people support or China in 2nd with 1.3 Billion people to support do the math.

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Yep! Here we go folks. Let the games begin! If these four are convicted of spying they will be sentenced to death. Now would be a good time for that Sayonara Sale.

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Why is a chemical dump a military target? Sounds like they grabbed the first 4 guys they could doing something non touristy.

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Japan's getting into a peeing match that it just cannot win. Right or wrong, China holds all the cards.

Tread carefully number three.

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boooo!

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"The stubborn holding of civilian captain is going to be a nightmare for Japan's economy." Seriously doubt that. Japan is China's largest trading partner after the US and depends on Japan for manufacturing jobs and a market for Chinese goods.

I have to say, Chinese really know how to deal with Japanese. If you play nice with Japanese they just try to keep things for their favor or at least they will try to buy time until the issue vanish from public attention.

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More wake up calls to the world about how the Chinese operate...

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One fisherman vs four construction workers...seems unfair business practice.

Which one most of the people want to choose let's say if someone give them an option being detained in Chinese prison or Japanese prison. Especially these four Fujita employee is white-collar workers they will surprise to know about the street-life in prison.

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I called this as soon as the Fisherman was detained. China will also embargo rare earth minerals.

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Spying on military installations carries a death sentence in China. Perhaps a mass execution for these 4 Japanese are in order, much like how China killed the Japanese drug smuggler criminals back in April of this year.

What type of sentence can Japan give the Chinese skipper for bumping into 2 of their boats? FYI- the Chinese skipper would be home by now if he signed one of those forced confessions that Japan is good at producing. So much for dealing with this in a calm manner.

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China.....Don't go there!!!!

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Help me! That says it all.

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Exactly how long does it take to getting around to disposing of chemical weapons? Seems to be 65 years according to this report.

And a bit of a minefield to. Has the Japanese government even admitted to having and/or using chemical weapons in China in WWII? I know about Unit 731 (I think that was the name) but what is the official government position on that?

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Wow....so, China has come to this. Holding 4 Japanese contractors who are working on a chemical weapons munitons disposal site in occordance to a bilateral agreement in order to pressure the Japanese government, with trumped up charges. What do you wanna bet that will put a big chill on foriegn companies doing business in China?? If China has a problem with another country they will use that countries citizens as hostages to resolve an issue. Sounds like China and Iran have alot in common.

China is showing its hand..by showing the world how dirty China is willing to play. Let this incident show how reckless the Chinese government is and be prepared to play hard with them. Dont back down Japan....because if you do..it will set a precedent for the Chinese to backmail you again.

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Disillusioned, you are thrilled about the entire China- Japan thing.Your comments on this subject are more of war-mongering than anything else.

Do you think that China is that foolish to wage war with Japan, when Nationals from so many other countries like you and me are here in Japan?

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Dont trust china they dont have good relations with any neighbouring countries. Poker face

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What is the point. Squeeze the balloon, and the weakest point will be found. Japan must not give into the pressure. Does anyone understand how much tax money is wasted rescuing people from political places that people have been told not to visit. Unsure? Two presidents to countries where people can easily see on websites.

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And there you have it! They may be the second and at some point #1 economy, but continue to exercise third world tactics. You have one of mind; I’ll take four of yours.

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What do you wanna bet that will put a big chill on foriegn companies doing business in China?

What do I want to bet?

Considering it isn't even noon yet and I've fielded three emails from business contacts in Canada and the US looking for information on the situation, not a whole lot.

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Come to think of it, it is very convenient for China that these four were involved in WWII chemical weapons disposal, and that the Japanese army having chemical weapons will come up in every news report on the arrests. Very convenient, but I am sure just a coincidence, and not intended to stir up any, uh, sensitive issues or cause any embarrassment for the Japanese government.

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China are being childish. Since they claim it's theirs too they should send a few big warships into the Senkaku area, if they have any balls.

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Looks like it's perfect time to abolish Article 9. All Asian countries except both Koreas and China would prefer militarily strong Japan as a counterweight against red China.

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It seems US is backing Japan on recent dispute, what worries me this issue may end up becoming a real cold war where Japan is being "sandwiched" between China and US instead.

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Ossan isn't on the money at all. China doesn't want to use these guys to trade for the Senkaku incident captain. They don't care about him, they just want to make a scene out of it. Think about it, if they trade him for these guys, then it's all over, what would China gain from that?

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Poor China. It's cutting off it's own nose to spite its face. Or to coin one of its own aphorisms, this incident will be analogous to 搬起石头砸自己的脚 -- lifting a rock only to drop it on one's own foot.

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It is a remind to everyone how comfortable it has been for Japan to hide behind the US military shield. Once the Americans leave, Japan will have to build up its military massive, otherwise she will be bossed around by the big bully next door. If that is what the base opponents want fine; however I doubt many are aware of the geopolitical situation.

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The 5th man was able to evade the police.

hmmm. Earlier reports were saying that the 5th man was a Chinese national acting as their guide.

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The anti-Chinese feeling in Japan is strong. When Japan is declining and China over take in every which way. the ultra superiority complex of the Japanese id hurt. You think you win the war in China in the second world war? You people were tied down in China and all you hold is a small percentage of China where you can concentrate your brutal solders. Just like USA is now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will US go to war with China. US is only good at bullying and invading much militarily inferior nations. When it come to China you will see. Only the west will look kindly to your aggression and brutality in China in the second world war. The rest of the world and human kind will not.

Expect much more respond from China. Don't hold your breath.

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This is an extremely unfortunate act by the Chinese. My sense, and I could be wrong, is that this may have been something not sanctioned by the national government - a local official or agency acting on its own, based on the steady stream of nationalist rhetoric fed by the state controlled media to the public.

That's what makes this situation, and any incident similar to this with China, so dangerous - sub-level actors could stumble and do something that escalates the situation - which the national government doesn't want, yet that they then can't back away from, and risk "looking weak". So the situation continues to spiral up vs down.

If this was a central government directed/approved incident, then it shows the world clearly how the Chinese regime intends to conduct itself in diplomatic affairs - just like its many close associates; NKorea, Iran, Myanmar, and Sudan.

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Payback is a B****, ain't it?! And "they" are just getting started...Keep your eyes peeled, folks!! This might get ugly.

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Raysimlee, while what you say might man something, why is China ignoring the poor and the hungry? If not for the FTAs, special concessions, ODAs from other countries, what would China be today? It bothers me that some Chinese have nothing decent to eat. It is not worth even mentioning here what some of them have to eat. Those people also have a right to live and have normal food, water, sanitation facilities etc.

And it does not take long for countries to change the FTA, quotas, concessions etc.

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raysimlee at 01:28 PM JST - 24th September

The anti-Chinese feeling in Japan is strong.

I don't see any anti-chinese protest on the streets of Japan.

When Japan is declining and China over take in every which way. the ultra superiority complex of the Japanese id hurt.

We are happy that China keep growing because we are trade partners. If China economy do well, Japan economy do well.

You think you win the war in China in the second world war? You people were tied down in China and all you hold is a small percentage of China where you can concentrate your brutal solders.

I think that it was the Kuomintang how give their best protecting chinese people and helping the US defeat the Empire. The communist avoided most of the fight and worked behind for control the country.

Just like USA is now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will US go to war with China. US is only good at bullying and invading much militarily inferior nations. When it come to China you will see.

Is that an expression of the communists sense of gratitude to the US and Taiwan for their sacrifices in end the Empire ocupation of China?

Only the west will look kindly to your aggression and brutality in China in the second world war. The rest of the world and human kind will not. Expect much more respond from China. Don't hold your breath.

What that have to do with a fisherman ramming two coast guard vessels? Is about Ownership of the islands or revenge against a dead empire?

Moderator: All readers back on topic please.

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Well, four againt one. I predict that the Japan will soon release the fisherman. But, you never know, the Japanese are notoriously stubborn.

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It won't be long now til the people march on and start trashing Japanese restaurants in China - again. Once more they'll probably forget that 99% of these are owned by Chinese locals.

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Swapping the fisherman for these 4 hostages will result in both nations saving face.

It is worth noting that China has arrested business people in dubious circumstances before for spying.

On Sunday July 5 2009, Australian businessman Stern Hu along with three other Rio Tinto employees were arrested by Chinese officials claiming they have evidence that the men damaged China's economy and security. The arrest come after the failed US$19.5 billion bid by state owned Chinalco to obtain an 18% stake in Rio Tinto and during the annual iron ore supply and price negotiations.

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It's payback time.

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gogogo at 09:39 AM JST - 24th September Why is a chemical dump a military target?

My guess is that the chemical weapons were originally stored by the Japanese Imperial Army at or near one of their military installations. After it was abandoned in 1945, that installation was reborn as one for the PLA after they took over in 1949-50.

The four contractors of course had to take photos for their job. But what would have been a perfectly acceptable angle last month is definitely not this month.

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My sense, and I could be wrong, is that this may have been something not sanctioned by the national government - a local official or agency acting on its own, based on the steady stream of nationalist rhetoric fed by the state controlled media to the public.

No news about these four arrested Japanese in major Chinese media so far. It seems to me the local government wanted to kiss central government's ass by arresting these four, but central government don't appreciate it. They (central government) just want some diversions and make some noises to keep people's attention away from political reform we care most about back home in China. No one (except those extreme nationalists) believe CCP really care about the poor fisherman or that tiny rock, it is just being used by some air-head selfish old-timers in CCP to stay in power.

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now the chinese boat captain is released, perhaps those 4 japanese businessmen will be released shortly????????

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If Japan don't ask China to release them, I doubt China will release them.

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When the captain was released, then if these 4 Japanese businessmen were released soon after that, it really implies that the arrest by Chinese authority would be nothing to do with spy actions filming military facility.

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fishy at 03:16 PM JST - 24th September now the chinese boat captain is released, perhaps those 4 japanese businessmen will be released shortly?

Or maybe the communists will show Japan what due process means in China. They then might not be released until next year.

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China's attitude is like tit for tat. Now, China will ask Japan to bow lying on the ground. But this action is really sad when Japan is deciding to free the detained Chinese captain.

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I hope the 4 Japanese are released now China has it's skipper back. tit-for-tat, OK, but don't prolong keeping these guys for political advantage. there are only losers in these kind of situations.

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I think they grabbed these guys up because Japan wouldn't let the boat captain go. Now that he is to be freed will China free these Japanese? maybe they will hold them the same number of days or something.

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