• Kyodo News


The Democratic Party of Japan-led government will for the time being not release video footage of last month’s collisions involving a Chinese trawler and Japan Coast Guard patrol boats in the East China Sea, sources said Friday.

The stance reflects concerns that its release would further damage Japan-China relations, which soured after the arrest and detention of the trawler skipper, the sources said.

Bilateral tensions appear to be slowly easing, as seen by the recent departure of two Chinese fisheries patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands, which Japan controls but China claims. Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his counterpart, Wen Jiabao, held talks earlier in the week on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels.

If the Diet adopts a resolution calling for the release of the footage, the government may show it only to a small number of lawmakers, including executives of the Budget Committees of the Lower and Upper houses, the sources said.

“Investigative authorities will make an appropriate decision based on the current state of investigation and requests from the Diet,” Kan said at the plenary session of the House of Councilors on Friday morning.

The footage, recorded by the coast guard, is believed to show the Chinese boat intentionally ramming the coast guard vessels.

The Liberal Democratic Party, the main opposition force, and Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), the DPJ’s coalition partner, have called for the release of the video. New Komeito, however, appears less willing. “Making it public at this stage would cause various problems,” New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said earlier.

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