Brooks says she offered hacker a job

Posted on 2019年1月21日

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks says she offered a job to a reporter convicted of phone hacking to keep him from going public with allegations.


But she insisted she hadn’t known that illegal activity was taking place under her command.

The tabloid’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were arrested in 2006 and later convicted of eavesdropping on the voicemails of royal aides.

Brooks – then editing sister tabloid The Sun – said she offered Goodman a backroom job after he was released from jail to stop him going to an employment tribunal.

“He was going to allege that other people at the News of the World knew he was accessing voicemails and agreed to it and certain other people were involved in that practice,” Brooks told a jury at her trial.

She said Rupert Murdoch’s media company believed the allegations were unfounded, but wanted to avoid “damaging headlines”.

Goodman turned down the job but accepted a financial settlement.

Brooks said police told her in 2006 that her own phone had been hacked by Mulcaire for 18 months. She said she was “pretty shocked” by that, but after consulting with her bosses decided not to make a formal complaint or become a prosecution witness.

Brooks insists she did not know phone hacking was taking place when she edited the News of the World between 2000 and 2003.

But she said there had been a collective failure among newspapers in employing a large number of private investigators to ferret out secrets for scoops.

More hacking revelations erupted in 2011, leading Murdoch to shut down the 168-year-old News of the World.

Brooks denies conspiracy to hack phones, bribe officials and obstruct police. Six other defendants also deny a variety of charges.

Qantas needs tough love, not corporate welfare

Posted on 2019年1月21日

By Sinclair Davidson, RMIT University

So it begins – a company running to Canberra with a good story and in need of some or other political favour.


To be fair, these companies tend to have very good stories – consumer safety, national security, skills development, employment prospects, and the like. It is very hard to say “No” and for a long time Canberra has tended to say “Yes”.

The problem being that the amount of money available to be spent on corporate welfare is finite, the demand for corporate welfare infinite, and the prospects of those companies needing corporate welfare poor.

To its credit the Abbott government has being saying “No” to some companies – but not others. We know that government is poor at picking winners, so while saying “No” is an improvement on previous practice there are likely to be problems with the new practice.

It looks like Joe Hockey has developed a four point test to inform his decisions on corporate welfare.

These four points can be summarised as follows:

    Is the firm subject to unique regulation that impedes its business model?Does the firm provide an essential service?Does the firm compete against foreign State Owned Enterprises (SOE)?Is the firm working to restructure its operations?

The Abbott government is likely to argue that Qantas meets all four criteria. My opinion is that it meets one, at best, with the other criteria being arguable or irrelevant.

Qantas is subject to the Qantas Sale Act and this does impede its business model. The solution to this problem is to repeal, or at least relax, the Act. This is the course of action that the government should pursue to the exclusion of any other support. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has signalled support for this option. Unfortunately it appears there is little political will in the Parliament for it.


Who should do the heavy lifting to help return Qantas to profitability? Jasoneppink/Flickr

We need to be clear – Qantas does not provide an essential service. We need to differentiate between the service being provided and the service provider. It is true that the failure of the company would cause a temporary disruption and inconvenience to the travelling public, but very quickly we would find planes flying the same routes and providing much the same service.

Competing against a state-owned enterprise is a furphy. Every single Australian firm that competes in any international market is competing against an SOE on some margin. We in Australia decided long ago that the government had no business running airlines (or most other types of business) – it was a good decision to privatise Qantas and that decision should not be revisited.

Finally there is the question of whether the firm is restructuring its own operations, with Abbott stating Qantas must get its “house in order”. The Abbott government is looking closely at industrial relations when thinking about this question. Quite rightly so, but that isn’t enough.

Premium price for premium service?

Qantas appears to be pursuing a strategy where it will provide a premium service while charging premium prices. I’m not convinced – as a long-time Qantas customer – that it’s succeeding in providing a premium service. Nor do I believe Qantas will be able to maintain its premium prices. As Sam Wylie explained in the Australian Financial Review, the capital markets share this opinion.

Qantas has a book value of A$6 billion and a market value of just A$2.7 billion. Qantas has turned each dollar invested into 45c. Turning that around is going to be a lot harder than being tough on unions or cutting back on the drinks menu.

Allowing Qantas to borrow at the government bond rate – even if it has to pay a fee – will distort the market. The thing is that Qantas can borrow – just at junk bond rates. Borrowing at the government rate would mean Qantas could borrow more and more cheaply than the market thinks it should. That means Qantas would maintain its size and dominance when the market thinks it should contract.

Government has no business propping up businesses that should be contracting. As things stand Qantas is a poor investment. Yes; unique government regulation is partly to blame for that and the Qantas Sale Act should be repealed. Yet I suspect Qantas’ current strategy has more to do with its troubles than the Qantas Sale Act.

By repealing the Qantas Sale Act Qantas will have to survive on its own terms – this is the outcome that would best serve the interests of the flying public (broadly defined). Any other form of assistance is likely to leave Australians worse off in the long run.

Sinclair Davidson is Professor of Institutional Economics at RMIT University and a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. He has previously held research grants from the Australian Research Council.

Hamstring injury denies Defoe chance of final Spurs match

Posted on 2019年1月21日

Defoe, 31, was expected to make his 364th and final appearance for Spurs against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in their Europa League last 32, second leg match at White Hart Lane on Thursday when they will try to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit.


“He will be at the game to say his goodbyes at halftime,” said Sherwood before praising the fans’ favourite who is the fifth highest scorer in the club’s history.

“Jimmy Greaves was the best, but you would say Jermain has also been one of the best goalscorers this club has ever seen.

“Let’s hope we can find another one like Jermain Defoe.

“He has been all about goals. Whenever he put on the shirt he always played with all his heart and spirit for the club. Everyone appreciates his efforts. He is a legend at the club.”

Defoe, who still hopes to be included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for this year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, is joining Major League Soccer club Toronto FC.

Although he officially signed for the Canadian outfit last month, he has been on loan back at Tottenham since then with a view to leaving this week to prepare for the new MLS season.

Defoe scored 143 goals in all competitions during his two spells at White Hart Lane and was expected to play against Dnipro and try to add to his club record of 23 European goals which he established earlier this season.

His last match for Spurs was a brief substitute appearance in the 1-0 home Premier League win against Everton on February 9 and his last goal came in the 2-0 home victory over Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane on January 11.

He originally joined Tottenham in 2004 and stayed until 2008 before spending a year at Portsmouth. Defoe returned to north London in January 2009 and made more appearances and scored more goals in his second spell than he did in his first.

There was better news for Spurs regarding Brazilian midfielder Sandro who has returned to full training following a calf injury that has kept him out since December.

Right back Kyle Walker (hip) could also return but they will be without midfielder Etienne Capoue and left-back Danny Rose after they picked up knee injuries in Sunday’s 1-0 league defeat at Norwich City which left them six points off fourth place.

(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Search for MH370 to be reviewed in coming days

Posted on 2019年5月21日

(Transcript from World News Radio)

Australian authorities say they will decide in a few days whether to change or scale back the search for the missing Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean.


It comes as Malaysian officials prepare to issue death certificates for those on board Flight MH 370 and provide financial assistance to the families.

Santilla Chingaipe reports.

(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)

It’s been more than six weeks since the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Australian-led search effort is relying on the single US Navy submersible sonar scanning device to scour an uncharted seabed at depths of more than 4000 metres.

The Bluefin-21 device has so far detected nothing.

Australia’s ambassador to the United States Kim Beazley has told CNN the use of the US Navy device will have to be re-assessed soon.

“A decision will obviously be taken by the search coordinator. That would be done obviously in consultation with other parties that are involved in this. The air search might be adjusted, but when you say you’re going to reconsider all things, obviously that’s one of the things you’re going to consider. You may well also consider bringing in other underwater search equipment. All these sorts of things will be on the table if nothing is found in the next few days.”

Mr Beazley says every country contributing to the search would likely continue covering the costs of supporting its own planes, ships, personnel and equipment.

But he says Australia would consider bringing in private contractors.

“The question would be who would pay for private contractors if more private contractors were brought in. That would be a decision taken by the Australian government in an environment of great generosity. We have responsibility for this. There is an assumption on the Australian part about bearing the burden.”

Meanwhile, Malaysian authorities have met with distraught relatives of the missing flight to discuss the issuing of death certificates.

Senior government officials and representatives from the airline also talked to the families about providing financial assistance.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin also stressed that all passengers would be treated equally.

“When we talk about financial assistance, we have to be fair with everybody. The only discussion that we talk to currently is to the next of kin in Malaysia and to representative from China. So, we don’t only talk to Malaysian next-of-kin. We’ll talk to everybody.”

The amount of financial assistance has yet to be decided.

Mr Hamzah says the issuance of death certificates was also discussed, but says this has not been finalised.

“And just now, we’re looking at the date to announce. Once we want to make that kind of announcement, we would like to actually confirm certain issues, certain evidence or certain things that it is proper before we make that kind of announcement.”

Most of the 239 people aboard flight MH370 were from China.

There were six Australians.




Climbers cancel Everest expeditions

Posted on 2019年5月21日

Distraught Nepalese guides and climbers have cancelled expeditions on Mount Everest after at least 13 colleagues died in an avalanche.


At the same time anger is mounting over poor payments for sherpas who take huge risks on the world’s highest peak.

Sherpas, already grief-stricken over the loss of colleagues, have told AFP they are considering whether to halt climbs to protest at pay and poor welfare provisions.

The bodies of 13 local sherpa guides have been pulled from the snow and another three are thought to be still buried in the avalanche which hit on Friday morning, the worst single accident in the mountain’s history.

Another nine were rescued alive from the avalanche, which struck the group of sherpas as they hauled gear up the mountain for international climbers who were waiting at Everest base camp below.

Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International, which lost four sherpas in the accident with another still missing, has decided to cancel its expedition, according to its sirdar (sherpa captain).

“We have lost five members of our team. To respect them, we will not be going ahead with our expedition,” said Lakpa Rita Sherpa, who has summitted Everest 17 times.

“This was one of the worst days on the mountain and all those who died are sherpas, so many of those left don’t want to go ahead,” Lakpa said on Monday from base camp.

US-based Discovery Channel also cancelled an expedition after losing its team of sherpas in the accident, it said in a statement.

The channel was planning a live broadcast of the first winged jumpsuit flight off the summit.

Other teams still at base camp are weighing up whether to go ahead with their expeditions, with many too distraught to climb.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said sherpas want the government to set up a welfare fund for guides and their families, using part of the fees paid by clients.

“It’s not about stopping expeditions. But they have demands that need to be fulfilled,” Ang, whose national body represents tourism promoters, told AFP.

Some of the sherpas and their families are angry about the Nepali government’s offer of 40,000 rupees (about $A440) to pay for the funeral expenses of those killed, calling it a disrespectful gesture.

Sherpas, an ethnic group known for their skills on the mountain, earn between $A3,211 to $A6,423 a season. But life insurance payments currently only go up to $A10,706.

The disaster underscores the huge risks borne by sherpas who ascend the icy slopes, often before dawn and usually weighed down by tents, ropes and food for their clients, who pay tens of thousands of dollars to scale the mountain.

The cancellations are likely to have an impact on the impoverished Himalayan country’s economy. It relies on tourism for revenue, earning millions of dollars in annual climbing fees from Everest alone.

More than 300 people, most of them local guides, have died on Everest since the first ascent to the summit by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

The previous worst accident on the 8,848-metre peak was in 1996 when eight people were killed during a storm.

Tokyo stocks close marginally down

Posted on 2019年5月21日

Tokyo stocks have ended marginally lower, giving up early gains that were fuelled by a weak yen after data showed the trade deficit surged year-on-year to $US14 billion in March.


The Nikkei 225 index on Monday edged down 3.89 points to 14,512.38, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was off 0.17 per cent, or 1.97 points, at 1,171.40.

“Market players cashed in on the early gain in late trading, which sent the Nikkei into negative territory,” said Kenzaburo Suwa, strategist with Okasan Securities.

“But recoveries are quite likely for the rest of the week as we will have several major events”, including the Japan-US summit, Suwa said.

“Also, a corporate result season is to begin this week, which may encourage players to chase selective shares showing positive results,” he added.

The market was also weighed down as diplomatic sparring between China and Japan intensified over the weekend.

The Shanghai maritime court seized a large freight vessel owned by Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in a dispute over what the Chinese side says are unpaid bills relating to the 1930s.

Tokyo on Monday warned that the seizure threatened ties with China and could undermine the basis of their diplomatic relationship dating back to 1972.

The government said early on Monday that its trade deficit surged last month to $US14 billion ($A14.99 billion), with a weak yen compounding surging imports as consumers rushed to buy before a rise in sales tax.

The poor data sent the yen lower, shoring up export shares.

A weak yen is good for Japanese exporters, making their products more competitive overseas and inflating the value of their repatriated earnings.

The greenback fetched Y102.53 in Tokyo afternoon trading, up from Y102.46 on Friday, while the euro was up at Y141.67 from Y141.46.

Trading has been thin since last week, with most leading financial markets around the world closed on Friday and Monday for Easter.

In Tokyo trade, Toyota ended up 0.10 per cent at Y5,570 and Panasonic was up 0.89 per cent at Y1,123. Sony closed unchanged at Y1,932 after giving up earlier gains.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines tumbled 1.11 per cent to Y355.

Wembley can wait, Hull boss’s focus on Premier League status

Posted on 2019年5月21日

“I’m not really interested in Wembley just yet, we have got to stay in this league and let Wembley look after itself in four weeks or whenever it is,” Bruce told reporters after Sunday’s defeat.


“We have got to concentrate on the next few games and make sure we get over the line because we haven’t done it yet, we are not safe yet and we still have a bit of work to do and that’s all I’m concentrating on.”

Hull face trips to relegation-threatened Fulham and Aston Villa and the manager’s former club Manchester United next before finishing their campaign at home to Champions League chasing Everton on May 11.

Hull have enjoyed a strong campaign but five defeats in their last seven games have left them short of the traditional safety mark of 40 points, although that is expected to be a lot lower this season.

Bruce was also left nervous by the recent improved showing of the teams beneath them in the table with bottom side Sunderland taking four points of title chasing Manchester City and Chelsea in their last two matches.

“I always said if you get 10 wins that is usually enough and it still might be, who knows,” said Bruce, whose side achieved their 10th league win of the season at home to Swansea City earlier this month.

“Its too close for comfort and we have seen some unbelievable results at the weekend and its concertinaed it and its quite a remarkable league this year.”

Despite the defeat to Arsenal, Bruce was pleased with the way his team performed on Sunday.

Strikers Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, who will both miss the cup final as they played for others clubs in the previous rounds, went close to putting Hull ahead with Jake Livermore also hitting the inside of the post with a long range strike.

But Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring for the visitors in the 31st minute after a swift attack with Lukas Podolski doubling the lead just before halftime and added a third after the break.

Bruce, though, was annoyed Jelavic was not awarded a free kick after a coming together with Mikel Arteta which led to Arsenal regaining possession and scoring the second.

“The big turning point in the game, we are talking about a refereeing decision again,” the former Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and Sheffield United manager said.

“Everybody in the ground expected a free kick, we didn’t get it and again, a bit of quality from Arsenal, a terrific finish by Podolski, and after playing really, really well we are 2-0 down at halftime.

“It is cruel but that’s what this big league is all about, I keep saying they are capable of it because of the quality of the players they have got.

“Towards the end it is very, very easy for them, but the first half in particular it’s the best we have played for weeks and I couldn’t have been more pleased.”

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

World Cup hangover no excuse: Roosters

Posted on 2019年5月21日

Halfback Mitchell Pearce says the Sydney Roosters’ interrupted pre-season is no excuse for their poor start to the year.


The Roosters contributed 18 players to the end-of-season World Cup last year. A number of those players didn’t return to the club until well into the new year, delaying preparations for their premiership defence.

The tricolours arrested a three-game losing streak – their longest under coach Trent Robinson – against Cronulla on Saturday night but they remain outside the eight with a disappointing 3-4 record.

However Pearce says their heavy World Cup commitment isn’t to blame as they look ahead to their Anzac Day clash with St George Illawarra on Friday.

“We were confident we could play well, that was no excuse,” Pearce said on Monday.

“Obviously we didn’t have too much time together as a team with a few of the boys coming back late but we’re certainly fit enough and as ready as we can be.

“There’s certainly a few combos we need a bit more work on, but that will come as the year continues.

“It was nice to get the win the other night… to get that was a bit of weight off the shoulders. Not from the outside but from the inside.

“We’ve got high standards of ourselves, we haven’t been living up to them in all areas of the game.”

NSW incumbent halves Pearce and James Maloney have copped much of the blame for the Roosters’ troubled start and Pearce admitted some of the criticism had hurt his scrumbase partner.

“As the halves you get used to that sort of criticism, it’s just the norm,” Pearce said.

“I think it probably hurt Jimmy a little bit. But he performed really well the other night and I thought he was back to his confident best.”

UK skin cancer rates sky rocket

Posted on 2019年4月21日

Britain’s love affair with sunny holiday destinations, sun tans and sun beds has seen a huge rise in national skin cancer rates.


New figures reveal rates of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, are five times higher in the UK than they were in the 1970s.

More than 13,000 people are now developing the disease each year compared about 1,800 in 1975.

Incidence rate has shot up from just over three per 100,000 of the population 40 years ago to around 17 per 100,000.

The dramatic rise is partly down to the huge increase in package holidays to sunny European destinations, a boom in sun bed use, and the fashion for a “healthy” tan, according to Cancer Research UK which released the figures.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.

Sunburn is known to increase the risk of skin cancer, especially in people with pale skin or large numbers of moles or freckles.

Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistics at Cancer Research UK, said: “Since the mid-1970s, malignant melanoma incidence rates in the UK have increased more rapidly than any of today’s 10 most common cancers.

“Holidays in hot climates have become more affordable and sunbeds are more widely available since the 1970s. But we know over-exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, and is why it’s essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.

“The good news for those that are diagnosed, is that survival for the disease is amongst the highest for any cancer; more than eight in 10 people will now survive it.”

Caroline Cerny from Cancer Research UK, said it’s essential to take care not to burn.

“Sunburn is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged and, over time, this can lead to skin cancer.

Australian coach joins emerging Afghans

Posted on 2019年4月21日

New Afghanistan Cricket Academy coach, Australian Peter Anderson, has started work in Kabul as the fast-developing team prepares to debut at next year’s World Cup.


Anderson coached Papua New Guinea for two years before his arrival in a country where cricket is a rare symbol of optimism amid war, corruption and poverty.

“I am excited to be here,” the 52-year-old said on Monday in a press release issued by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).

“I hope I can make a contribution to the quality of cricket here. I will start slowly, watching, listening and learning.”

Anderson played 56 first-class matches for Queensland and South Australia as a wicketkeeper, scoring 1399 runs at an average of 17.93.

“We are pleased to be welcoming a person of Peter Anderson’s calibre to head our new Afghanistan Cricket Academy,” said Noor Mohammad Murad, head of the ACB.

“He brings to us 35 years of cricketing experience both in Australia and internationally. His experience with Papua New Guinea, a developing cricket country, will fit him well.”

Anderson will head the new academy, which will seek out and train players from youth level through to the full national squad.

Afghanistan’s cricket team have taken big strides over the last decade, gaining one-day status in 2009.

The side have featured in three World Twenty20 tournaments and qualified for the 2015 one-day World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The International Cricket Council has given $US1 million ($A1.07 million) funding to each of four World Cup qualifiers – Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and Scotland – and has arranged training camps in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

Afghanistan are in Group A along with Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Bangladesh, England and Sri Lanka.

They will also feature in this year’s Asian Games tournament in Incheon, South Korea.

Losing continues but Moyes stays positive

Posted on 2019年4月21日

Manchester United manager David Moyes maintains that there are positives for the club’s fans to cling to despite them being out of contention for the Champions League.


Last season’s champions suffered an 11th Premier League defeat of the season when they lost 2-0 at Everton on Sunday.

United were already guaranteed their worst points tally since the start of the Premier League era in 1992 and the result at Goodison Park means that it is no longer possible for them to finish in the top four.

Moyes, however, is adamant that the supporters understand the problems he has faced in taking over from Alex Ferguson and is sure that he can turn the situation around.

“I think everybody knows that we are on track to make changes and do some different things. We are rebuilding. We have got things we want to do,” he said.

“The supporters have been incredibly behind the team and supported the team throughout. They understand it has not been good. I recognise it has not been good. It needs to be better.”

Nemanja Vidic is leaving for Inter Milan, and Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand will soon be out of contract, and there were reports in the British media on Sunday that England forward Danny Welbeck will also seek a move at the end of the campaign.

United only managed two shots on target in a disappointing performance that saw them beaten by a Leighton Baines penalty and a Kevin Mirallas goal.

Everton are a point behind fourth-place Arsenal with three matches remaining and two points behind third-place Manchester City, who have two matches in hand and visit Goodison Park in a fortnight.

Martinez, whose side also won 1-0 at Old Trafford in December, believes that doing the double over United is further evidence of his team’s progress since he took over last year.

But the Spaniard remains grateful to Moyes for the legacy he left behind after his 11-year spell at Goodison Park.

“When I arrived at Everton, I said straightaway I was fortunate to walk into a club where everything was in place,” Martinez said.

“David Moyes’s job at Everton has been the platform of the performances we’ve put in.”

Hamburg seek divine intervention

Posted on 2019年4月21日

Hamburg playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu has said only divine intervention can help his side avoid an historic relegation from the Bundesliga after 50 years in Germany’s top-flight.


Hamburg suffered a club record eighth home defeat when they lost 3-1 against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday to leave them 16th and they have just three games left to avoid their first relegation from the Bundesliga.

Hamburg are the only team in Germany’s top-flight to have never gone down and a clock at their Imtech Arena stadium proudly displays how long they have spent in the Bundesliga – but the 1983 European Cup winners are running out of time.

“I will pray to god that we stay in the league. Only god can help us now,” insisted 20-year-old Turkey international Calhanoglu.

Hamburg face a tough last three games at Augsburg on Saturday, then home to champions Bayern Munich and away to Mainz, who are all in the top half of the table.

Should Hamburg remain 16th after the final round of matches on May 10, they will face a two-legged play-off next month against the side who finish third in the second division, currently Paderborn, for their Bundesliga place.

Mirko Slomka, Hamburg’s third coach this season after Thorsten Fink and Bert van Marwijk were both sacked, sent a scout to watch possible future play-off opponents Paderborn’s 2-2 draw with Greuther Fuerth on Sunday.

“We have to prepare ourselves professionally”, Slomka said glumly.

Hamburg’s fans showed their disgruntlement as 120 masked supporters rioted after the final whistle and only police intervention prevented more trouble.

Wolfsburg’s Ivica Olic, the ex-Hamburg striker who scored in Wolves’ victory, admitted he was not optimistic about his former club’s chances.

“They showed nothing,” he said.

Japan warns over ship seizure by China

Posted on 2019年4月21日

Tokyo has warned that the seizure of a Japanese ship in Shanghai over pre-wartime debts threatened ties with China and could undermine the basis of their post-war diplomatic relationship.


Authorities in Shanghai seized the large freight vessel in a dispute over what the Chinese say are unpaid bills relating to the 1930s, when Japan occupied swathes of China.

The move is the latest to illustrate the bitter enmity at the heart of Tokyo-Beijing ties, with the two sides embroiled in a spat over the ownership of a small archipelago and snapping at each other over differing interpretations of history.

Shanghai Maritime Court said on Saturday it had seized the vessel Baosteel Emotion owned by Mitsui OSK Lines for enforcement of an effective judgment made in December 2007.

“The arrested vessel will be dealt with by the law if Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd still refuses to perform its obligations,” the Maritime Court said.

Chinese and Hong Kong media said the seizure was related to a verdict by a court in Shanghai that said Mitsui had to pay about Y2.9 billion ($A30.41 million) in relation to the leasing of two ships nearly 80 years ago.

Reports said in 1936, Mitsui’s predecessor, Daido Shipping Co rented two ships on a one-year contract from Zhongwei Shipping Co.

However, the ships were commandeered by the Imperial Japanese Navy and were sunk during World War II, reports said.

A compensation suit was brought against Mitsui by the descendants of the founder of Zhongwei Shipping Co and in 2007 a Shanghai court ordered Mitsui to pay about Y2.9 billion in compensation.

Mitsui appealed against the court’s decision. But in December 2010, the Supreme People’s Court turned down their petition for the case to be retried.

Mitsui has argued that it is not liable for paying compensation given that the ships that Daido rented were requisitioned by the Japanese military during the war, Kyodo said.

On Monday, Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga said the seizure undermined the 1972 joint communique that normalised ties between Japan and China, in which Beijing agreed to renounce its demand for war reparation from Japan.

“It could also intimidate Japanese companies doing business in China as a whole and hence Japan is deeply worried and strongly expects China to take appropriate measures,” he said.

It appears to be the first time the assets of a Japanese company have been confiscated in a lawsuit relating to wartime or occupation compensation, Japan’s Kyodo News reported.

But it comes as a set of lawsuits related to wartime forced labour in Japan have been filed in China against Japanese corporations.

China has long maintained a policy of not accepting such civil lawsuits. But a Beijing court for the first time has agreed to hear a lawsuit by Chinese citizens demanding compensation from Japanese firms over forced labour, their lawyer said last month.

“Including this incident, China’s set of policies on this issue could shake up in a profound way the spirit of normalising diplomatic ties between Japan and China, that is inscribed in the 1972 joint communique,” Suga said Monday.

The value of Japanese companies’ investment in China dropped by half in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier to about $A1.30 billion, Chinese government data said.