Taiwan and Japan are holding a preparatory meeting for a new round of bilateral fishery talks in Tokyo today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Calvin Ho (何震寰), who confirmed the time and location of the meeting, declined to reveal the issues that would be on the meeting’s agenda.
The ministry will announce the results of the one-day talks when they are finished, Ho said.
“We have reached a consensus with Japan” not to provide more details before the meeting, he said.
The Taiwanese delegation to the meeting will be headed by Chou Shyue-yow (周學佑), an official at Taiwan’s representative office in Tokyo, and also include foreign ministry and Fisheries Agency officials.
Japan’s delegation will be led by Michihiko Komatsu, head of the Interchange Association’s general affairs section, he said.
Komatsu was also Japan’s lead negotiator at an initial preparatory meeting that took place in Tokyo on Nov. 30 last year, with little progress being made.
Taiwan’s delegation was led by Chang Jen-chiu, who was serving at the country’s representative office at the time, but Chang has since returned to Taiwan as part of a normal rotation, with Chou taking his place, Ho said.
The closed-door meeting will take place at the association’s headquarters in Tokyo, the association said in a statement yesterday.
The association, which represents Japanese interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties, added that it will release a statement after the meeting.
Taiwan and Japan have held 16 formal rounds of talks on fishing rights in their overlapping territories since 1996, with the most recent in 2009.
However, no new talks have been held since then because of different views on how to resolve the cross-border fishery disputes, mostly involving the waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea.
The two countries are hoping that a series of substantive preparatory meetings will help iron out some of these differences and improve the chances of success for the 17th round of talks.
The Diaoyutais lie about 120 nautical miles (220km) northeast of Taipei. They have been under Japan’s administrative control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.
Taiwanese fishermen consider the waters near the islands to be their traditional fishing grounds, but they are routinely chased away from the area by Japanese authorities when they venture too close to what Japan sees as its territorial waters.