Japanese coastguards yesterday released the two Chinese trawler captains arrested on Friday for unauthorised fishing inside the island nation's waters, Japanese media reported.
Wang Fugui, 26, and Zheng Wenwu, 35, were freed on an 'early release mechanism' after admitting to engaging in 'trawling activities' inside Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
A representative posted bail for them, Kyodo news agency reported, citing the coastguard authority.
The brief report made no mention of at least 32 Chinese crewmembers understood to have been detained at the same time but not formally arrested.
Some media reports have stated there were three more crew members on board the two boats.
The People's Daily yesterday appealed for calm in handling the incident, which coincides with heightened tensions between China and Japan over both countries' military build-up.
It stated that Chinese consular officials were visiting the fishermen.
The two vessels were intercepted by a Japanese coastguard patrol within Japan's EEZ about midway up Honshu, the country's largest island, around 330 kilometres northwest of the port city of Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture.
Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the Chinese trawlers, the Lurongyu 1735 and the Lurongyu 1736, entered Japanese waters on Thursday morning.
The coastguard arrests occurred at around 1.15pm the following day.Topics: Japan Fishing Industry Trawling Fishing Trawler Naval Trawler