• Kyodo

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Japan and Taiwan have agreed on fishing regulations covering waters in the East China Sea near the Japan-controlled, Taiwan-claimed Senkaku Islands.

The agreement came Friday at the third meeting of a Taiwan-Japan fishing commission, officials said. The regulations had been an issue since the two sides signed a landmark fisheries pact last April allowing Taiwanese trawlers to operate in what Japan regards as its exclusive economic zone near the Senkakus, which are claimed as Tiaoyutai in Taiwan and Diaoyu in China.

The regulations cover three zones that are prime fishing grounds for Pacific bluefin tuna.

Last year, Japanese trawlers held back from fishing the zones over concerns that trouble would arise with Taiwan over their different fishing techniques. They will now be able to fish there this year.

The regulations will be in effect only from April to July, which corresponds to the Pacific bluefin season, and will then be renegotiated next year.

Shinko Kuniyoshi, chairman of the Okinawa prefectural fishing cooperative association, offered limited praise for the agreement, saying after Friday’s meeting, “We took one step forward.”

In the two previous meetings, the two sides failed to reach a consensus on Japanese fishermen’s request that Taiwanese fishermen increase the distance between their trawlers from 1 nautical mile (1.85 km) to 4 nautical miles, and change the direction in which they cast their nets.

Under the agreed-to regulations, vessels from each country will be able to use their respective fishing methods in designated areas, allowing Japanese vessels to operate with peace of mind.

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