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Japan lodges protest against China ship seizure

Published on Apr 22, 2014 2:07 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo said Tuesday it has lodged a formal protest against China's seizure of a Japanese ship over unpaid bills dating back to the 1930s, in the latest row to underscore the bitter enmity between the Asian giants.

Authorities in Shanghai said on Saturday they had impounded the large freight vessel owned by Japanese shipping giant Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in a dispute over what the Chinese side says is money owed from the 1930s, when Japan occupied large swathes of its neighbour.

The two sides are embroiled in a territorial dispute over a small archipelago, as well as snapping at each other over differing interpretations of history.

On Tuesday, some Japanese media suggested the ship's seizure was meant to underline Beijing's assertiveness ahead of US President Barack Obama's arrival in Tokyo on Wednesday, part of an Asian tour aimed at reinforcing Washington's regional security alliances.

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