GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books & Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:54 03/09/2007
News Review #315: October 6, 2005

MK: Zim Harmed Israel-Japan Relations

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

MK: Zim Harmed Israel-Japan Relations


On Wednesday 28th, Japanese coast guards discovered a capsized fishing boat off the coast of Hokkaido. Only one out of 8 fishermen on board survived. A dent on the boat suggested some ship, presumably larger, collided with the boat, but there was no report on a collision from any vessel navigating nearby, which led Japan's coast guard to start an investigation.

Seeing the news reports, many Japanese thought the possibility of some military ship hitting the boat, with a harsh recollection of the U.S. submarine slamming into a training boat operated by a Japanese fisheries high school with young students on board a few years back. Others suspected of ships involved in illegal affairs, such as fishing without license or smuggling of drugs or even people, as there had been numerous reports of such activities, mainly by the ships from other countries and regimes surrounding Japan.

Thus it did in a way surprise the people when the paint from the dent on the fishing boat was announced to match that of a 40,000-ton Israeli cargo ship, which was en route from Seattle to South Korea. In one respect, it was the enormous size of the ship, compared to the mere 19-ton of the tumbled fishing boat, but moreover, it was the fact that a supposed to be a legitimate commercial ship ignoring the incident and leaving the scene. The reported denial by the ship's crew, and then by the operating company Zim, of encountering any incident raised grave suspicions toward the shipping company, and the possibility of any political or other background to the whole affair.

The shipping company, however, was reasonably quick to get things back on track. Upon admitting that it was their ship that collided with the fishing boat, a team of experts was dispatched to Hong Kong to pursue the matter with the crew of the ship now docked there, and Zim CEO Doron flew to Japan.

The news conference by Zim CEO in Tokyo expressing apology observing Japan's customary and generally accepted style of procedure, along with the expression of commitment that the lives and damages will be compensated, was, as reported in the article above, generally well received by the Japanese people.

Details of the incident must be thoroughly analyzed so as to make it possible to decrease further tragedies of similar causes, and the responsibilities needs to be clarified from a legal respect. But while there would be no true compensation for the lives of the fishermen, it is relieving to know that the stronger who survived would lend a hand to the victims of the incident in a relatively timely manner.

Tragedies and accidents are unavoidable. While causes and responsibilities of the parties should be sought, it would make a significant difference depending on how the parties behave when such incidents occur. Israeli people, so remote from Japan in geographical terms, may be not all that alien after all - at least they seem significantly more sincere than some of the regimes now surround Japan.

bullet Top
Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications