The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was glad to see a settlement was reached between the skipper of a Taiwanese recreational fishing boat and the Japan Coast Guard over a collision near the Diaoyutai (釣魚台) islands in June, an official said on Saturday.
Ministry spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) was responding to Japanese media reports that the coast guard has agreed to pay NT$10.5 million (US$312,500) in damages to Ho Hung-yi (何鴻義), skipper of the Lienho recreational fishing boat that sank about six nautical miles (18.5km) southwest of the Diaoyutai on June 10 after being hit by a Japanese coast guard patrol vessel.
“We are glad to see positive developments” over the matter, Chen said, adding that the ministry looked forward to continued Japanese efforts to resolve compensation claims from the passengers and crewmen.
Chen said that three lawyers retained by Ho had reached an agreement with the two lawyers representing their Japanese counterparts on Friday after several months of intense negotiations over compensation.
Ho said that although he was not fully satisfied with the amount, he had little choice but to accept it.
The Lienho sank after it collided with a Japanese patrol vessel that was trying to chase it away from the disputed waters surrounding the Diaoyutai islands.
Ho and his two crew members were detained by Japanese authorities for questioning after they and 13 Taiwanese recreational fishermen onboard were rescued by JCG officers.
The 13 anglers returned to Taiwan on June 11 and two crewmen on June 12, while Ho, the last to be released, returned on June 13.
The incident caused tensions between Taiwan and Japan, which thawed only after the Japanese coast guard offered a formal apology to Ho on June 20.
Negotiations for compensation terms got underway in August and culminated in an agreement on Friday.
But further negotiations will be required on compensation for the two other crewmen and 13 fishermen who were aboard the Lienho.
The uninhabited Diaoyutai islands in the East China Sea are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China.
The conflicting claims over the sovereignty of Diaoyutai have complicated fishing disputes between Taiwan and Japan in waters near the islands.
Both sides held the 15th round of fishery talks in July 2005 to try to resolve persistent disputes and both sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in March 2006, but the negotiations never took place.
Taiwanese fishing boats are often chased away by Japanese patrol vessels in the disputed waters, but collisions in the area are rare.