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A throng of Chinese fishing boats have been spotted poaching red coral in the waters around the Ogasawara Islands since mid-September. Japan and China should work together to resolve this problem. Doing so could serve as a first concrete step toward repairing bilateral relations that have deteriorated over the dispute concerning the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The number of Chinese ships — apparently from Fujian Province — operating in the waters around the Ogasawara Islands and near the southern part of the Izu Islands peaked at 212 on Oct. 30. As of Nov. 19, 44 Chinese fishing boats were still inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone around the Ogasawara Islands. Unauthorized fishing inside the EEZ of another country is a criminal act.

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