September 25, 2012

SERIOUS SUPER SOAKER SKIRMISH SLIGHTLY SHORT OF SENKAKUS

Japanese Coast Guard cutters have intercepted Chinese fishing vessels and patrol boats making a run for the Senkaku islands and engaged them with watercannon.

However, the Chinese vessels were not PRC, they were ROC.

Yes, the REPUBLIC of China, better known as Taiwan, also lays claim to the islets. and a small task force of patriotic Taiwanese fishermen sallied forth to make sure that this unspeakable mess got even more complicated. Taiwanese patrol boats, which had been escorting the flotilla gave covering fire with their own watercannon.  It appears that no one was injured.



The Taiwanese fishermen are concerned because if the 200 mile EEZ around the islets is strictly enforced, they would loose the bulk of their fishing grounds. (The islands are just over a hundred miles from Taiwan. )

China Daily implies there was no intent to land, just a peaceful protest to assert fishing rights. However Want China Times says they expressly refused to rule it out..

China Post has been covering this since the protestors left Taiwan and has this to say..

Chen Chun-sheng, chairman of the Su'ao District Fishermen's Association, emphasised that the purpose of the operation is to protest Japan's "nationalisation” of the island chain and also to advocate the rights of Taiwanese fishermen. The operation was made possible with a NT$5 million (US$170,500) donation to subsidise fuel costs, Chen said.

(Emphasis added)

China Post link is via AMPOTAN, who has much more including  information on the individual who is suspected of chartering the fishing boats....a Taiwanese businessman who made his fortune on the mainland and who has (allegedly) been taking over Taiwanese media outlets and making them pro-PRC mouthpieces.


Taken by itself the Taiwan-Japan dispute is not too worrying and can likely be resolved with some fisheries treaty.   However, these things never happen in isolation and with Mainland China and Japan having such a high stakes dispute over the islets this becomes something of a spanner in the works.

In other news Korea is suddenly playing hardball with their erstwhile ally over a dispute involving  a completely different set of even more Godforsaken  rocks .

Interesting times...

UPDATE: I'm sure this means nothing. More (without the sensationalist headline) here.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:52 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 11, 2012

Its Long Sleep is at an End



The Japanese just can't catch a break.

UPDATE: Everyone's favorite Hephaestupheliac, Don, sends this Wired article which takes a rather less pessimistic view. I'd contacted him in part due to another Wired article that made this bizarre statement:

The pressure in Mount Fuji's magma chamber is now higher than it was in 1707, the last time the nearly 4,000-metre-high Japanese volcano erupted, causing volcanologists to speculate that a disaster is imminent. 


Wow...
Those Edo period geologists were way more sophisticated than I'd thought. ...or there is a translation glitch ...or someone is on crack.

The Volcano Discovery piece I linked to initially seems fairly straight though. Though it to makes mention of the pressure being higher than the 1707 eruption. I'm really thinking something got mistranslated.

Fuji is active, it will erupt again and given its past behavior it seems a tad overdue, but Don is correct to point out that these things are fiendishly difficult to predict.

There's been no deformation and as far as I can tell since I got home, the slight increase in steam has not been enough to cause the government to close the mountain to climbers. So it's not really awakening, but it does seem to be stirring just a bit.


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:10 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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