Japan to Release Chinese Boat Captain

The New York Times has posted a brief news update:

Japanese prosecutors say they will release the captain of a Chinese fishing vessel involved in a collision near disputed islands.

The incident has raised tensions with China, which demanded Tokyo release the captain.

Earlier, in what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, China arrested four Japanese citizens. From the New York Times:

The terse report by the official Xinhua news agency said four Japanese citizens were detained at a military base near the city of , about 190 miles southwest of Beijing.

“Currently, the case is being investigated,” said a statement issued by authorities and carried on the Web site of China Daily, a government-controlled newspaper. Japan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that four of its citizens were being held, according to Reuters.

It was unclear whether the arrests were linked to tensions set off this month over a Chinese fishing boat that collided with — the Japanese say rammed — two Japanese naval ships near uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The islands, northeast of Taiwan, are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

The boat and crew were released, but the captain was kept in detention. He faces charges of obstructing officials in the performance of their duty. China has been pushing Japan to release him. Japan says the matter is for local courts. Prosecutors are to decide by next Wednesday whether to charge the Chinese captain or release him.



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