Japan says destroyer and Chinese boat collided; China says one hurt

Japan's defence minister Taro Kono said the collision occurred about 650km west of the Japanese island of Yakushima.
Japan's defence minister Taro Kono said the collision occurred about 650km west of the Japanese island of Yakushima.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS, AFP) - A Japanese destroyer and a Chinese fishing boat collided in the East China Sea on Monday (March 30) night but no one was injured or missing, Japan's defence minister said.

The collision occurred about 650km (400 miles) west of the Japanese island of Yakushima, Defence Minister Taro Kono said in a tweet on Tuesday.

This area is well north of disputed islands that Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing labels the Diaoyu islands.

The incident opened a 1 metre by 20 millimetre hole above the waterline of the destroyer, the Shimakaze, Mr Kono said.

"No personnel were injured and no one from the Chinese fishing boat was missing. We are checking details," Mr Kono tweeted.

China confirmed the incident saying it was under investigation and a Chinese fisherman was hurt. 

"China has expressed concern to Japan on Japan’s naval vessels being active in that area, and impacting safe navigation of China’s ships, in China’s coastal waters," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. 

She called for Japan’s cooperation in "preventing an incident like this from happening again". 

Earlier, the Japanese military said both the destroyer and the fishing boat, with a crew of 13, were still able to sail under their own power.

The military said the Shimakaze was on patrol after departing from the port of Sasebo on Sunday.

The defence ministry said it would cooperate with a Japanese coast guard investigation as well as launch a probe within the navy, Kyodo news reported.