• Kyodo


A Taiwan-Japan joint fishery committee will meet in Tokyo this week to discuss fishing arrangements in waters off the Senkaku Islands.

Administered by Japan, the isles are claimed by both China and Taiwan.

Chou Shyue-yow, deputy director general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the meeting will be held from Wednesday to Friday.

Topping the agenda is fishing regulations, which have been an issue since the two sides signed a landmark fisheries pact in April 2013, under which the committee was established.

The bilateral fisheries pact allows Taiwanese fishing trawlers to operate in part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone as jointly managed waters where reciprocal fishing is allowed.

However, the jointly controlled zone excludes waters 12 nautical miles from the islands, which Taiwan claims and which it calls Tiaoyutai.

The joint fishery committee was established to pursue issues the two sides failed to resolve during their pre-pact negotiations, including fishing in waters around the Senkakus and near Japan’s Sakishima Islands.

The upcoming meeting, the committee’s fourth, will be held by the Association for East Asian Relations, a ministry-linked Taiwanese agency tasked with handling ties with Japan, and the Interchange Association, Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei. Tokyo officially recognizes Taiwan only as a territory, and therefore does not have formal diplomatic relations.

While nothing concrete emerged from the first two meetings, the third, held in January 2014 in Taipei, yielded a consensus on Japanese fishermen’s request for their Taiwanese counterparts to increase the distance between trawlers from 1 to 3 nautical miles and to change the direction in which they cast their nets.

Under the agreed-to regulations, each side’s fishing vessels can operate using their respective fishing methods in designated areas, thereby enabling Japanese vessels to operate with peace of mind.

While the regulations were in effect during last year’s fishing season, both sides agreed to meet again to renegotiate them before the next fishing season begins in April.

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