高橋さん解放 中国は事態の全容を説明せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 11, 2010)
China must fully explain detention of Fujita 4
高橋さん解放 中国は事態の全容を説明せよ(10月10日付・読売社説)

China on Saturday released Sadamu Takahashi, the last of four Japanese employees of construction company Fujita Corp. detained last month.

First and foremost, we rejoice at his safe release.

However, Takahashi was freed after 20 days in custody; such a long detention represents flagrant contempt for human rights. Chinese authorities must explain in detail what led to Takahashi's release and the reasons for his detention.

The four were taken into custody Sept. 20 by state security authorities for allegedly illegally videotaping what China called "military targets" in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, while they were looking at potential construction sites for a plant to process chemical weapons left behind by the Japanese military during World War II.

Takahashi and the others were questioned while in the custody of security authorities at a hotel in the city. China freed all the employees except Takahashi on Sept. 30.


Obvious retaliation

The three were released after explaining they were unaware they were in a military zone and entered accidentally. China must have realized from the beginning that their actions were not malicious. If so, why did China keep Takahashi in custody even after releasing the others?

Although Beijing denies it, there is no doubt the arrest and detention of the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with Japan Coast Guard vessels off the Senkaku Islands affected the case involving the Fujita employees.

The four were detained the day after the Ishigaki Summary Court in Okinawa Prefecture authorized prosecutors to extend the captain's detention for 10 days. It is likely that China, which expected Japan to release the captain at the end of the first 10-day detention period, retaliated to prevent criticism from its people.

The three were released five days after the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office released the captain without further legal action against him for the time being. After that, China partially eased its restrictions on rare earths exports to Japan, which may have been an effort to present a softened stance on the issue before the image of China as a threat to global stability spread around the world.

Since then, the Japanese government came under growing public criticism over its handling of the captain's release. Calls also heightened for the release of video footage of one of the fishing boat collisions and for the Japanese government to take a tough approach toward China to realize the release of the detained Fujita employees.

The Chinese government may have been closely watching how the Japanese government would respond to these issues, using Takahashi as a diplomatic bargaining chip to pressure Tokyo.


Visitors must be wary

The prolonged detention of Japanese company employees indicates the possibility that so-called China risk will continue to exist in every area for the time being.

Employees of companies doing business in China and those doing business with Chinese companies should be very careful about their actions in that country. The same holds for people who visit China on cultural exchanges or as tourists.

We must keep in mind that China is a country where the government limits human rights, and there is always a possibility this will happen.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 10, 2010)
(2010年10月10日01時15分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2010-10-11 08:32 | 英字新聞

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