NHK, ASAHI SHIMBUN (Japan), CHINA DAILY (China)
TOKYO - Japan announced on Friday that it will send back the 14 Chinese activists who were arrested after landing on a disputed island, in an attempt to defuse the diplomatic feud between the two countries.
The activists were arrested on August 15 after sailing from Hong Kong to the Senkaku islands (or Diaoyu in Chinese) in the East China Sea to assert Chinese sovereignty.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura admitted to reporters that the decision is in line with domestic law, reports NHK.
Clear that Japanese PM Noda uninterested in escalated showdown over Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Tokyo lost the last staring fight in 2010...
— Mark MacKinnon/é©¬å‡¯ (@markmackinnon) August 16, 2012
The Asahi Shimbun reported that the group has attempted to sail to the islands numerous times in recent years, even spending $63,000 to repair their boat for the journey.
China Daily reported that demonstrations were taking place outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Friday morning.
Chinese newspaper, Xiamen Economic Daily, made another diplomatic blunder when it retouched a photo of the activists to avoid publishing the Taiwanese flag, even though the original photographs clearly show the group carrying both Chinese and Taiwanese emblems.
Internet users on China's social media website Weibo widely condemned the photoshopped image, forcing the newspaper to later apologize for its actions.
Japan is also locked in a diplomatic conflict with South Korea over the territorial claims to the Takeshima islands, or Dokdo in Korean.
NHK reports that Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba has appealed to the South Korean government on Friday, suggesting that the two parties should resolve the conflict through the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands.