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Japan Releases Chinese Fishing Boat Amid Tensions Over Islands

Japan freed the captain and crew of a Chinese fishing boat that entered its waters near Kagoshima prefecture over the weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The boat’s captain, Lin Shiqin, and two crew members, were released after being brought in for questioning on Dec. 29, Xinhua said, citing the Chinese Consulate General in Fukuoka.

The incident comes amid a dispute between China and Japan over territory in the East China Sea, with China asserting sovereignty over uninhabited islands that are administered by Japan. The detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain in September 2010 in the area of the islands -- known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese -- strained relations between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies.

Chinese ships conducted patrols around the islands yesterday, Xinhua said, citing the State Oceanic Administration. In a briefing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated China’s claim of sovereignty over the islands.

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