Tokyo: Japan`s Foreign Minister Seiji
Maehara reiterated on Tuesday that "no territorial issue exists"
over an island chain at the centre of a bitter row with China,
Kyodo News agency reported.
He also said that the arrest of a Chinese fishing boat
captain that sparked the current row between the Asian giants
was appropriate, the report said.
The skipper, who was released last week, had been
arrested on September 8 after colliding with two Japanese
coastguard vessels in the East China Sea near a disputed
island chain known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
In the worst dispute in years between Asia`s traditional
rivals and biggest economies, China has called the skipper`s
arrest invalid and illegal, arguing that the islands have been
part of China since ancient times.
Beijing has lodged a series of diplomatic protests, snubs
Industry sources say China has halted crucial rare earth
mineral exports to Japan, a claim that Beijing has denied.
China is also holding four Japanese nationals, employees
of a company working on a bid to clean up wartime-era Japanese
chemical weapons after detaining them last week for allegedly
filming a military installation.
Japan yesterday demanded full consular access to them,
and it also called on China to pull back two fisheries patrol
boats from near the disputed islands.
Late last week Japan freed the Chinese captain, who was
greeted to a hero`s welcome at home, where the case has stoked
patriotic fervour and anti-Japanese sentiment, expressed both
in blogs and small street protests.