Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has slammed the fisheries accord Japan signed with Taiwan and urged that it be reviewed because it could hurt the prefecture’s economy.
“I feel extreme indignation” about the agreement, which was signed without regard for the wishes of Okinawa’s local fishery industries, Nakaima said in a meeting with Ichita Yamamoto, state minister in charge of issues related to Okinawa.
Yamamoto said he took the request for a review seriously and would convey it to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
Tokyo and Taipei signed the accord earlier this month to allow fishing boats from Taiwan to operate in part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone around the Senkaku Islands.
But residents in Okinawa have voiced concerns that the pact could cause the prefecture’s catches of tuna and other fish to shrink and cause conflicts with Taiwanese fisheries operators.
Government sources said Tokyo compromised during the fisheries talks mainly to prevent Taiwan from forming a united front with China against Japan over the Senkakus dispute.
Powwow on fishing rules
Japanese and Taiwanese officials will meet in Tokyo on Monday and Tuesday to discuss fishing rules near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, sources said.
Earlier this month the two sides agreed to set up a joint fishing area in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off the disputed islets, which fall under Okinawa Prefecture’s jurisdiction.
Details of the agreement, including catch quotas and the number of fishing boats allowed to operate, will be discussed, as well when fishing will become permissible, the people said.