Fishery meeting prep with Japan makes little progress

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan –Little progress was made at the Taiwan-Japan preparatory fishery talks meeting held in Tokyo yesterday, but both sides have agreed to continue negotiations on the issue, Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei said. In a statement released yesterday at the conclusion of the meeting, the Taipei office of Japan’s Interchange Association (JIA) said both sides made their case on fishing issues in an effort to reach a fishery accord during the closed-door meeting held at JIA’s headquarters in Tokyo. There was little progress made at the meeting despite the fact that the meeting was carried out in a sincere atmosphere, it noted. But both sides said they will continue to negotiate “with sincerity and good will” so that a third preparatory meeting can be convened as soon as possible. A first preparatory meeting took place also in Tokyo on Nov. 30, 2012, but little progress was made at the time.

Speaking to media prior to the meeting yesterday, Michihiko Komatsu, head of JIA’s general affairs who was heading Japan’s delegation at the meeting, said he hoped the one-day session would achieve satisfactory results. He also took advantage of the occasion to express his gratitude for Taiwan’s aid toward Japan’s reconstruction efforts in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. Chou Shyue-yow (周學佑), an official with Taiwan’s representative office in Tokyo who is leading Taiwan’s team, also noted that he looked forward to reaching a positive conclusion at the end of the meetings to pave the way for the 17th round of bilateral fishery talks. Taiwan and Japan last held talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories in the East China Sea in 2009, but the discussions have been stalled since then. The meeting was joined by Taiwanese officials from MOFA, the Council of Agriculture, the Coast Guard Administration and other related government officials. Members of the Japanese delegation included officials from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fisheries Agency and coast guard, as well as the Okinawa General Bureau of its cabinet office.