Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:50 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 00:50 | SYDNEY

China-Japan fishing boat incident drags on

28 September 2010 16:04

Andy Forrest is a Lowy Institute intern. He recently completed his PhD thesis on Chinese perceptions of Japan's security strategy.

It is only natural to worry when there is a coincident increase in nationalistic sentiments in China and Japan. This is precisely what has occurred in recent weeks following the arrest (and recent release) of a Chinese fishing boat captain by Japanese forces in disputed waters in the East China Sea. 

China's demand over the weekend for an apology and compensation over the arrest annoyed a large segment of Japanese society. In so doing, it exerted enormous domestic-political pressure on the Kan Administration to regain some of the ground many feel it lost by releasing the Chinese captain. Reflecting this public sentiment, eight Japanese lawmakers issued a joint statement on Monday condemning the decision. Kan is yet to respond.

On the Chinese side, Beijing's demand for an apology and compensation has sparked anti-Japanese demonstrations reminiscent of those prompted by the Japanese school text book controversy in 2005. One need only recall the profoundly tense relations between China and Japan at that time to get a sense of how important it is to ensure that this most recent test of diplomatic resolve does not spin out of control.