Japan accuses China over gas flares on border

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Japan lodged a complaint over China’s apparent development of gas fields between the two countries in the East China Sea, reports said Wednesday, amid fears that China could be tapping Japanese energy resources.

Two gas flares had been spotted near the median line between the two countries, suggesting gas production has started, Kyodo News agency reported Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga as saying.

The two flares are in addition to flares previously noticed at five of China’s 16 facilities in the area, Suga said.

“It is extremely regrettable that (China) has unilaterally proceeded with the development while the boundary between Japan and China has not yet been fixed,” Suga said.

Officials say the wells, if operational, could tap gas fields that extend into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

In July, Japan for the first time released photographs of China’s East China Sea gas platforms to highlight Beijing’s attempts to “change the status quo.”

A scheme to exploit gas reserves jointly in the East China Sea, agreed in principle in 2008, has stalled in recent years.

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