Over 100 policemen were mobilized to guard the Taipei office of Japan's Interchange Association yesterday for fear that several hundred fishermen from eastern Taiwan would swamp the de facto Japanese embassy to protest a fishing dispute over territorial waters between the two countries.
To the police and Japanese liaison officials' relief, the fishermen did not show up, except for about a dozen activists led by Hsiao Wen-yi (蕭文義), chairman of the Taiwan Fishermen's Human Rights Association.
Many journalists, including reporters and cameramen from Japan, seemed to be disappointed with the absence of protesters, who were found later to have gone to the Legislative Yuan to lodge their protest.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Chen (
A preparatory meeting is scheduled to be held in Tokyo today to pave the way for the 15th round of Taiwan-Japan fishery talks slated for July 29, also in Tokyo.
Fisheries Administration officials said that the government will continue to exchange views with the fishermen, adding that any Taiwan-Japan fishing disputes should be tackled diplomatically.
Chen, who is currently on a visit in the West African country of Burkina Faso to cement diplomatic ties, said that he does not think the fishing rights issue would be a bone of contention between Taiwan and Japan.
For international talks, Chen said, "you have to `give and take' to secure the best possible results, and radical words or moves aren't helpful either before or after."
Chen was referring to the latest news reports from Taiwan that a Coast Guard Administration patrol boat, in an action to protect Taiwan fishing boats, confronted two Japanese patrol boats for eight hours on Saturday in waters near the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by both Taiwan and Japan.
Chen called for a consensus to be reached within the country before the Taiwan-Japan fishery talks.