Shrine Visit Retribution? China Seizes Japanese Cargo Vessel (Over War-Debts)

Tyler Durden's picture

We noted yesterday, Japan's decision to send an Abe cabinet official to the Yasukuni shrine (home of Class A war criminals) and Abe's sending of an offering, warning it will likely see retaliation from China. We didn't have to wait long. As BBC News reports, China has seized a Japanese cargo ship (over a pre-war debt). With President Obama due to visit in days, it seems the tensions between China and Japan may force his hand to pick sides.

 

As BBC News reports, China's seizure of a Japanese cargo ship over a pre-war debt could hit business ties, Japan's top government spokesman has warned.

Shanghai Maritime Court said it had seized the Baosteel Emotion, owned by Mitsui OSK Lines, on Saturday.

 

It said the seizure related to unpaid compensation for two Chinese ships leased in 1936.

 

The Chinese ships were later used by the Japanese army and sank at sea, Japan's Kyodo news agency said.

 

"The Japanese government considers the sudden seizure of this company's ship extremely regrettable," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday.

 

"This is likely to have, in general, a detrimental effect on Japanese businesses working in China."

It seems the Japanese shrine visit sparked some more "war" memories for the Chinese...

The owners of the shipping company, identified by Kyodo as Zhongwei Shipping, sought compensation after World War Two and the case was reopened at a Shanghai court in 1988, China's Global Times said.

 

The court ruled in 2007 that Mitsui had to pay 190 million yuan ($30.5m, £18m) as compensation for the two ships leased to Daido, a firm later part of Mitsui, Global Times and Kyodo said.

 

Mitsui appealed against the decision, but it was upheld in 2012, Kyodo said.

 

Kyodo said this appeared to be the first time that a Japanese company asset had been confiscated as war-linked compensation.

 

...

 

Japan has always held that the issue of war-related compensation was settled by a 1972 agreement between the two sides when ties were normalised.

 

But now for the first time, a Chinese court has ignored that agreement - and the Chinese government appears to be giving full support, says the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo.

It seems China and Japan are testing their relationship with the US...