Japan holds Chinese in island row


Japan has arrested five Chinese activists after they landed on an island chain claimed by China and Japan.

In the latest incident that has damaged relations between Asia's two biggest economies, a fishing vessel, carrying around a dozen activists from Hong Kong, Macau and China, was closely tailed by around a dozen Japanese coastguard vessels and pummelled with water cannon, but activists still managed to break through.

David Ko, a spokesman for the activists, said at least seven had made it ashore and five had been "held for questioning". He added: "The men carried red Chinese flags and Hong Kong flags. The boat is a total write-off."

Japan has summoned the Chinese ambassador to lodge a complaint, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said today in Tokyo.

The islands in the East China Sea are known as Senkaku in Japanese and Daioyu in Chinese, and sovereignty over the area would give the holder rights to undersea oil reserves.

The collision of a Chinese fishing boat with two Japanese Coast Guard vessels in September 2010 sent bilateral relations to the lowest level in at least five years.