NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said here Friday that Japan and China need to handle matters calmly so as to further develop bilateral ties.
He made the remarks after a Chinese trawler captain returned to China early Saturday Beijing time after being illegally detained by Japan from Sept. 7 to Sept. 24.
The Japanese prosecutors made the decision of release on Friday "after comprehensively considering the nature of the incident from all angles," Kan told a press conference in New York, where he attended the UN General Assembly with other world leaders.
Calling China and Japan "important neighbors," Kan said "it is necessary for both Japan and China to handle matters calmly in order to deepen our mutually beneficial and strategic relationship."
On Sept. 7, two Japan Coast Guard patrol ships and a Chinese trawler collided in waters off China's Diaoyu Islands. On the following day, the Japan Coast Guard illegally seized the Chinese trawler, and detained the trawler's captain, Zhan Qixiong, and 14 fishermen on board, drawing strong protests from the Chinese government and people.
The Japanese side freed the 14 fishermen and the boat on Sept. 15, but continued to hold Zhan. A Japanese court announced on Sept. 19 that Zhan's detention would be extended by another 10 days.
Early Saturday morning Beijing time, Zhan arrived safely in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province by a chartered plane.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement after his return that the Chinese government expressed "strong protest" against Japan, whose detention, investigation or any form of judiciary measures for the Chinese trawler and fishermen are unlawful and invalid.
China asked the Japanese side to make apology and compensation for the incident, the statement said. It also said the two sides should resolve the problems of Sino-Japanese relationship through dialogue and consultation.