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  • Taiwan protests after fishing boat water-cannoned by Japanese patrol

    Taipei, March 5 (CNA) Taiwan lodged a protest with Japan on Monday following an incident in which a Taiwanese fishing boat was chased and water-cannoned by Japanese patrol boats in waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands over the weekend, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

    The protest was lodged in Taipei and Tokyo at noon with the Taiwan government accusing the Japanese side of using excessive force against the Su’ao-registered "Tung Pan Chiu No. 28" (東半球28號) near Taiwan’s territorial waters on Saturday and Sunday, according to a MOFA statement.

    The Fisheries Agency has also launched an investigation into the case to determine whether the vessel was fishing outside the agreed fishing zone specified in the 2013 Taiwan-Japan Fisheries Agreement, it added.

    According to a separate Fisheries Agency statement, Japanese patrol boats chased off the vessel on Saturday when it was about 10 nautical miles (18.52 kilometers) outside the fishing zone specified in the agreement.

    The agency said that it will ask Japan to present evidence backing up its claims and impose punitive measure on the fishing boat if the evidence proves compelling.

    The agreement covers the maritime zone south of 27 degrees north latitude and north of Japan’s Yaeyama Islands and Miyako Islands, part of the overlapping area of exclusive economic zones (EEZ), 200 nautical miles off a country’s coast, claimed by Taiwan and Japan.

    A day later at 7 a.m. Sunday, Japanese patrol boats again chased "Tung Pan Chiu No. 28" and fired water cannons, forcing the vessel out of waters off the western shore of Okinawa’s Yonaguni, one of the Yaeyama Islands, where Taiwan and Japanese EEZ claims overlap, the agency said.

    (By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Joseph Yeh)