In Japan, there is a decent amount of buzz over the leaked Diaoyutai or Senkaku video taken by the Japanese coast guard. Here is Japan Time’s report (“China ‘concerned’ over YouTube video; Tokyo probes Senkaku ship collision upload“) and China’s reaction (“Video cannot conceal Japan’s illegal actions“).
The video is very sensitive in Japan, and according to the Japan Time’s article, there likely will be some sort of criminal investigation over the leak. Bear in mind, even their lawmakers are exposed only to edited clips, as the article said:
On Monday, a limited group of lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties were allowed to view six minutes and 50 seconds of edited footage taken by the coast guard.
If you had just viewed the video, at first glance, it appears the fishing boat purposely ram into the Japanese coast guard vessels. But look carefully at the initial collision and pay attention to the Japanese vessel’s trail; it appears the coast guard ship had encircled the fishing boat to block.
As for the second collision, it is very difficult to tell. The key is to look at the water trails left by the ships. The trail that is most aggressive is the one that is least straight.
Of course, I am no expert. The video itself is edited. So far, the Japanese government have refused to share the entire 45 minutes [update, according to this Japan Today article, several hours] with the Chinese government. Even the six minutes and 50 seconds shown to her own lawmakers were edited.
The bottom line for me?
If the video itself proves that the Japanese coast guard ships were more at fault, that would be a big blow to the Japanese government position over this specific collision.
This is what the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said:
“I would like to reiterate that the Japanese patrol boats had disturbed, driven away, intercepted, surrounded the Chinese fishing boat, which led to the collision.”
Anyways, it is obvious the “pro-China” perspective is going to interpret the video as I have. It is obvious the “pro-Japan” camp is going to interpret the video exactly as reported by the Japan Time’s article.
At the end, this incident will come to pass. The bigger issue is still to find a solution to this dispute over the islands. Both governments will have to work hard to ensure citizens on both sides remain calm.
As we have written in the past over this issue – there are vested interests in seeing this incident spiraling downward. The governments will need to manage against that.