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Taiwan-Japan to hold fishery committee meeting: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A joint fishery committee featuring both Taiwanese and Japanese officials will hold its first meeting in Taipei today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at downtown Taipei's Ambassador Hotel, MOFA said in a released statement.

This is the first official meeting of the joint committee since its inauguration following the signing of a historic fishery agreement between Taipei and Tokyo last month.

Unidentified sources close to the matter told local media yesterday that the meeting is expected be attended by Taiwanese officials from the Coast Guard Administration, the Fishery Agency and MOFA as well as their Japanese counterparts.

The meeting will touch on issues that were not addressed in the recently signed agreement and also cover joint conservation and management of fishery resources in the East China Sea, the source said.

The committee is scheduled to hold a meeting once a year to deal with related fishery issues between Taipei and Tokyo, according to the source.

The decision to hold the first meeting was made during a two-day preparatory meeting that ended last Thursday in Tokyo, MOFA said last week.

Taiwan and Japan signed a historic fishing pact on April 10 on fishing rights in their overlapping territories in the East China Sea, mainly around the Diaoyutais, known in Japan as the Senkakus.

Under the agreement, both sides agreed to set up a joint committee to discuss fishery issues and to resolve possible disputes.

The agreement designates an area in the East China Sea that is claimed by both sides as waters where fishing by both Taiwanese and Japanese vessels will be allowed. The area lies south of the 27-degrees north latitude, and north of the Sakishima Islands.

The agreement also gives Taiwan an additional fishing zone of 1,400 square nautical miles, or 4,530 square kilometers.

The agreement, however, does not apply to the waters within 12 nautical miles of the Diaoyutais, which are claimed by both sides.

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