Taipei, March 8 (CNA) A group of pro-China unification activists protested outside Japan’s representative office in Taipei Thursday over Japanese patrol vessels chasing away a Taiwanese fishing boat from waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands over the weekend.
The protest by two dozen protesters took place outside the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA) in Taipei, the de facto Japanese embassy in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.
The protesters called on the government to take a tougher stance against Tokyo, saying that Taiwanese fishermen have every right to operate in waters near the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.
The protesters also insisted that the Su’ao-registered Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 was operating legally on March 3 and 4 when it was chased and subjected to water cannon fire by Japanese patrol boats. They also asked the Chinese Navy to offer protection to Taiwanese boats.
They later gave a letter of protest to a representative of JTEA before holding another protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) headquarters in Taipei.
MOFA had already lodged a protest with Japan March 5 following the incident, as it considers Japan’s enforcement of the law to be excessive.
Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency said March 6 that the Tung Pan Chiu No. 28 was operating without authorization in waters within an overlapping area of Taiwan’s and Japan’s exclusive economic zones and will face punishment including the suspension of the boat’s operating license and its crew’s fishery permits for a maximum of one year, or possibly a fine.
(By Joseph Yeh)