TAIPEI, June 12 Dozens of Taiwan protesters
including local officials converged on the de facto Japanese
embassy on Thursday, burning flags and shoving police as Japan
held the captain of a Taiwan fishing boat that sank in disputed
They shouted slogans and called for Japan to release the
captain, compensate the Taiwan vessel's owner and apologise for
its handling of the incident. The magistrate of Taiwan's
largest county and family of the crew were among the
"We hope the two sides can generally get along well, but
Japan needs to apologise for this rude action," said Hsieh
Hsiu-chi, spokeswoman for Taipei County, where the vessel is
Two protesters burnt flags, others ripped them apart and
local TV showed small groups jostling with police.
China considers Taiwan, which Japan colonised for half a
century up to 1945, as its sovereign territory. Japan
recognises China, not Taiwan, where it does not have a formal
The fishing boat collided with a Japanese coastguard vessel
on Tuesday and sank off what Japan calls the Senkaku islets,
which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and
Taiwan. The 16 people aboard were taken onto the Japanese
vessel, the coastguard said.
The eight uninhabited islands, 2,000 km (1,200 miles)
southwest of Tokyo, are known as the Tiaoyutai in Taiwan and
the Diaoyu islands in China. They are also thought to lie near
undersea oil and gas reserves.
Japan has returned all 13 recreational fishermen and two of
the crew to Taiwan, a Japanese official said. The captain was
being held for investigation but was expected to be released.
Japan-Taiwan ties are normally warm, though informal, but
the disputed isles issue flares up periodically because Taiwan
boats have historically used the fish-rich waters.
Taiwan's foreign ministry on Thursday "expressed
opposition" to Japan and asked that the two sides talk again
because "there has been no way to reach consensus despite 15
rounds of fisheries negotiations to date", it said in a
(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex