NEW YORK (Kyodo) Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Friday in New York that the “comprehensive judgment” of prosecutors led to the release of a Chinese fishing boat captain involved in ship collisions near the disputed Senkaku Islands, denying political influence affected the investigators’ decision.

Kan arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport Saturday night after his three-day trip to New York, where he attended U.N. events and met with President Barack Obama and other foreign leaders.

In a news conference before leaving the U.S., Kan said the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Okinawa Prefecture decided to free the captain “by comprehensively considering the nature of the incident and solemnly following domestic laws.”

The release of the skipper triggered an outcry among some Japanese who saw it as a major diplomatic defeat.

The captain was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of deliberately colliding with two Japanese Coast Guard ships near the Japan-administered islands in the East China Sea. The islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

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