Japanese PM Naoto Kan on Sunday rejected China’s repeated demand that Tokyo apologise and offer compensation for the arrest of a Chinese boat captain whose detention caused relations between the neighbours to plunge to their lowest level in years.
Tensions have already affected business ties between the nations’ intertwinedeconomies.
“I have no intention of accepting (the demand) at all,” Kan said. “It is important for both sides to act with a broader point of view.”
Kan made the remarks after China reiterated its demand for an apology from Japan on Saturday, hours after Japanese authorities released the captain whose vessel collided with Japanese patrol boats near disputed islands this month.
“This is tone-deaf diplomacy,” said Nobuteru Ishihara, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.
But Katsuya Okada, secretary-general of the ruling Democratic Party, defended the government’s handling of the crisis and denied any pressure on prosecutors to release the captain.
The dispute over the islands is one of many that has strained ties between Tokyo and Beijing.