Senkaku footage relegated to Sengoku

Kyodo News

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said Friday he will be in charge of deciding whether to disclose video footage of collisions between a Chinese fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard cutters last month near the Senkaku Islands.

Sengoku said he discussed how to handle the matter with Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Justice Minister Minoru Yanagida and transport minister Sumio Mabuchi in the morning, and they agreed to leave the decision up to him.

Lawmakers have been calling on the government to release the footage, which was shot by the coast guard, to counter China’s claims that the trawler captain was illegally arrested.

“We have not received a formal request from the Diet,” Sengoku said at a news conference, indicating there is still room to discuss with Diet members whether it would be appropriate to disclose the video.

The government’s handling of the Sept. 7 incident is one of the major issues to be discussed during the special Diet session that will run through Dec. 3.

The decision needs to be made at a time when signs are emerging that Beijing has eased its hardline stance since prosecutors freed the captain.