Japan MPs review collision behind spat with China

Members of Japan`s parliament reviewed a video today, showing a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol vessels, off disputed islands that has flared into an emotional row between the countries.

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2010, 22:09 PM IST

Tokyo: Members of Japan`s parliament reviewed a video today, showing a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol vessels, off disputed islands that has flared into an emotional row between the countries.

The video, taken by the coast guard vessels involved, was shown to about 30 members of the lower house Budget Committee. It was reportedly about six minutes long. The video has not been made available to the public or other members of parliament.

Japan`s coast guard claims the captain of the Chinese ship refused to stop for an inspection and collided with its vessels. The captain was arrested and prosecutors considered pressing charges, but he was later released and sent back to China. The 14 crew members were released earlier.

The screening of the video, considered as evidence in possible further legal action against the captain, has raised concerns that it could rekindle emotions. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has seen it, government officials said, but his ruling party is against opposition demands that it be made more widely available.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman later today said the showing of the video changed nothing.

"The so-called video cannot change the truth and cannot cover up the unlawfulness of the Japanese action," Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement posted on the ministry`s website.

The Sept. 7 incident sparked a high-level tiff with Beijing because it occurred in waters near a group of islands claimed by Japan and China in the East China Sea. Several large anti-Japanese demonstrations have occurred in response across China.

After the collision, China demanded an apology and compensation, but Tokyo countered by demanding that Beijing pay for damage to the patrol boats.

Bilateral relations are still uneasy.

PTI