Shanghai Court Seizes Japanese Ship; Japan Expands Military Presence

Tensions continue to ratchet up between China and Japan.
Shanghai court seizes Mitsui O.S.K. ship over unpaid compensation
The Shanghai Maritime Court on Saturday seized a ship owned by Japanese shipping giant Mitsui O.S.K. Lines at a port in Zhejiang Province for failing to respond to a compensation order by the court stemming from a wartime contractual dispute, Shanghai municipal authorities announced Sunday.

It appears to be the first time for an asset of a Japanese company to be confiscated in a lawsuit concerning wartime compensation.

The Maritime Court said that if Mitsui does not honor its legal obligations, it will dispose of the ship in accordance with the law. Local media and the municipal authorities have identified the seized vessel as the container ship "Baosteel Emotion."

......In 2007, the court demanded that Mitsui pay 190 million yuan (about $26 million) to a Chinese family in compensation for unpaid contractual obligations by Mitsui's predecessor, Daido Shipping Co.

Mitsui appealed against the court's decision, but in December 2012, the Supreme People's Court rejected Mitsui's petition for the case to be retried, thereby affirming the decision.

In 1936, one year before the start of the Sino-Japan War, Daido rented two ships on a one-year contract from Zhongwei Shipping Co. However, the ships were commandeered by the Imperial Japanese Navy and later sank at sea.

The suit was brought against Mitsui by grandsons of the founder of Zhongwei Shipping Co.

Mitsui has argued that it is not liable for paying compensation given that the ships that Daido rented were requisitioned by the Japanese military during the war.

Japan expands army footprint for first time in 40 years, risks angering China
Japan began its first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years on Saturday, breaking ground on a radar station on a tropical island off Taiwan.

......"This is the first deployment since the U.S. returned Okinawa (1972) and calls for us to be more on guard are growing," Onodera told reporters. "I want to build an operation able to properly defend islands that are part of Japan's territory."

......Building the base could extend Japanese monitoring to the Chinese mainland and track Chinese ships and aircraft circling the disputed crags, called the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China.

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