NEW YORK — Prime Minister Naoto Kan and new Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara's trip to attend U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York was largely overshadowed by tensions between Japan and China over a ship collision incident near the disputed Senkaku Islands that escalated day by day.

The U.N. talks on various global challenges and a number of bilateral meetings should have been the perfect occasion to demonstrate to the world that Japan's government now has a solid power base, as Kan survived a ruling Democratic Party of Japan leadership race and launched anew his Cabinet just before he embarked on the U.S. trip.

But both the prime minister and Maehara, who was appointed as foreign minister on Sept. 18, were instead required to allay international concerns over the rapidly chilling relations between the world's second- and third-largest economies.