Japanese government deports activists attempting to land on Senkaku Islands

Japanese government deports activists attempting to land on Senkaku Islands

Around 9:30am on August 16, at Naha New Port in the Minato district of Naha, Chinese activists disembarked from a patrol boat, and boarded cars bound for police stations.


August 17, 2012 Compiled from reports in Ryukyu Shimpo

In the afternoon of August 15, a ship carried seven Hong Kong-based activists to the Senkaku Islands (of the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese). Okinawa Prefectural Police and Coast Guard officials arrested all 14 people involved, including those who landed on the islands on charges of violating Japanese immigration law. The last time that Japanese authorities arrested foreign activists for landing on the disputed islands was eight years ago in March 2004 when seven Chinese were arrested.

On August 16, the Japanese authorities transferred the Chinese activists to the main island of Okinawa. That afternoon, in four police stations in Okinawa, and in patrol boats, the activists were questioned about the reasons and process used to land on the islands. That evening, Coast Guard officials transferred nine of them to the Naha District Office of the Fukuoka Regional Immigration Bureau.

The Japanese authorities transported the five Chinese nationals arrested by the Okinawa Prefectural Police in the patrol boat Kunigami, and transferred them from Uotsuri-jima to the main island of Okinawa. At 8:45am on August 16, they arrived at Naha New Port, from where they were transferred to police stations in Naha, Urasoe and Tomigusuku, Yonabaru. The report said that the Chinese activists all denied the charges when they were arrested.

Coast Guard officials arrested nine of the Chinese suspects, including the captain and crew of the ship, a camera operator and reporter from a television station. All of them denied the charges, stating, “We are innocent because the islands belong to China.” The officials seized the ship and towed it to Ishigaki Port as evidence.

The report said that the activists threw bricks at the Coast Guard vessels preventing it from landing on the islands. Officials said that they did not charge them with interfering with a government official in the act of duty because no one was injured. Article 65 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law stipulates that authorities can directly transfer suspects arrested on suspicion of violating the law to the Immigration Bureau, but only if there are no other charges.

On August 17, the Naha District Office of the Fukuoka Regional Immigration Bureau deported all 14 of the Chinese activists. The Japanese authorities swiftly settled the case within two days of the incident occurring.
A civilian airplane took the seven Chinese television crew members from Naha Airport to Hong Kong, where they arrived around 9:00pm. A Coast Guard airplane took the rest of them to Ishigaki Island, from where they departed on their ship at around 9:25pm.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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