Japan releases Chinese caught illegally fishing

BEIJING Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:59pm IST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese fishermen detained for illegal fishing in Japan's waters were released Monday after promising to pay a 4.28 million yen fine, China's state news agency Xinhua said, citing the consulate general in Japan's southwestern city of Fukuoka.

Xinhua said the detention of the three fishermen for unauthorised coral fishing within Japanese waters was "peacefully resolved" within 48 hours.

The detention comes as tensions simmer between China and Japan over ownership of disputed islands near Taiwan, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The dispute had sparked waves of anti-Japanese protests in Chinese cities this year.

Chinese fishermen tend to fish in waters far east of China to get away from depleted stocks at home.

The captain of the Chinese fishing boat that was among those detained had admitted to being in Japanese waters, Xinhua said on Sunday.

Japanese news agency Kyodo said separately on Monday that the captain was arrested on Saturday for fishing in Japan's exclusive economic zone without permission, charges that he admitted to.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing in Beijing and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Alison Williams)

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