China's Global Times reported Monday that the Japan Coast Guard on Saturday released two Chinese captains seized for alleged illegal fishing in the Sea of Japan on Friday. The newspaper quoted a Chinese consulate official in Niigata. The boats, which each had 17 Chinese crew members on board, were seized while they were fishing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), off Ishikawa Prefecture within Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The captains had allegedly ignored the Japanese officials’ order to stop for an inspection and tried to escape. The Japan Coast Guard identified the captains as 26-year-old Wang Fugui and 35-year-old Zheng Wenwu. The two captains were sent back to their trawlers by the Japan Coast Guard at around 4:30 pm local time, after negotiations between the consulate and the Japanese side, the Global Times reported.
China broke off all high-level contact with Tokyo last September after Japan detained a Chinese fishing boat captain whose vessel collided with Japanese coast guard patrol ships in waters claimed by both sides.
Tensions rose again last week after Japan voiced concern over China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, and what it called the "opaqueness" of Beijing's military budget.© Japan Today