Japan Coast Guard official admits China video leak

A member of Japan`s Coast Guard admitted leaking a video of a collision between a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol boats, a development that could hurt efforts to mend bilateral ties.

Updated: Nov 10, 2010, 12:07 PM IST

Tokyo: A member of Japan`s Coast Guard admitted on Wednesday leaking a video of a collision between a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol boats, a development that could hurt efforts to mend bilateral ties.

Relations between Asia`s biggest economies have chilled since September, when Japan detained the Chinese skipper of the fishing boat after it crashed into Coast Guard ships near disputed isles in the East China Sea.

Beijing last week expressed concern to Japan about the video, which appears to show the Chinese boat being steered into the patrol vessels and could harden Japanese public opinion against China.

"I have been informed that a coastguard has told his superior officer that he himself leaked the images," Japan Coast Guard Commandant Hisayasu Suzuki told a parliamentary panel.

The leak also casts doubt on the ability of Prime Minister Naoto Kan`s struggling government to keep control of confidential information.

Kan has ordered checks on the handling of such data, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told a news conference on Wednesday.

Japanese media earlier cited investigators as saying the video, which has been widely shown on television, had been posted onto a website from an Internet cafe in the western city of Kobe.

Police are planning to arrest the coastguard on suspicion of breaching the duty of confidentiality, media said.

The Chinese skipper was detained over the incident but later released, a move for which Kan has been harshly criticized.

The government`s handling of the row has led to a drop in support for it.

No bilateral meeting between the heads of the two governments has so far been scheduled during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting this weekend in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Kan told the parliamentary committee.

Bureau Report