TOKYO, JAPAN - Video footage of collisions between Chinese and Japanese boats near a disputed island chain was submitted to Japan's parliament Wednesday, threatening to inflame the row between the Asian giants.
Parliamentarians were due to debate if and when the video, filmed by the coastguard and submitted by prosecutors, will be shown to legislators.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan watched the six-minute video together with his right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, who however declined to share details of the footage with journalists.
The developments come amid the worst row in years between Beijing and Tokyo, and as Kan and his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, prepared to head to a regional summit where they may meet this week.
The video footage was taken seven weeks ago by Japan's coastguard in the tense incident that started the diplomatic row near the disputed East China Sea island chain known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japan's coastguard in the early hours of September 8 arrested the Chinese captain of a fishing boat which had collided with two Japanese coastguard vessels in a high-speed pursuit.
The skipper was held on suspicion he had rammed the patrol boats on purpose but Japan released him weeks later, following a barrage of protests and reprimands from China which called the arrest invalid and illegal.
The prosecutors office of Naha in Japan's far-southwestern Okinawa prefecture handed the sealed video footage to the lower house upon a request by parliament, a Diet official said.
According to Japanese media reports, the footage is said to prove that the Chinese boat was responsible for the collisions - but government officials also fear its release could further inflame the row with China. --AFP