Tokyo to fish near islands
February 15, 2005
Japan will start fishing expeditions near a pair of East China Sea islands to strengthen its hand in a dispute with the mainland over the rights to natural resources in the area, officials said.
Fishermen in April will begin catching tuna near Okinotorishima, 1,730 kilometers southeast of Japan’s capital, Tokyo metropolitan government official Kiyoshi Nakamura said. The capital claims the territory falls under its jurisdiction.
“Of course, the territorial issue is important, but once we start the project we will explore a new, rich fishing ground,” Nakamura said.
The tiny territory is made up of two outcroppings that Japan has fortified with concrete against the encroaching waves. The area is considered rich in undersea natural resources, but fishing has hardly been conducted in the area.
Japan says the outcroppings are proper islands and argues that they extend the country’s exclusive economic zone