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Former Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada criticized Beijing on Saturday for demanding an apology and compensation over the arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain, saying such a demand clearly showed China’s undemocratic nature.

“Everybody knows that China is not a democratic country, but (the latest demand) will make that explicit,” Okada, currently secretary general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, told reporters in Nara.

China made the demand after prosecutors released the captain of the fishing boat early Saturday following more than two weeks of detention. The captain was alleged to have deliberately rammed Japan Coast Guard patrol boats pursuing his vessel early this month near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Okada said he believes many Japanese are “disappointed” by China’s hardline stance, adding that the public’s reaction will not be “to China’s own benefit, either.”

Meanwhile, Koichiro Genba, the DPJ’s policy chief and also state minister for national policy, said in a speech in Sendai the same day that the incident provided “an opportunity for the Japanese to reaffirm the importance of the Japan-U.S. security treaty and the need to protect isolated islands.”

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