US praises Japan's release of Chinese captain held in boat collision that raised tensions

The United States is praising Japan's decision to release a Chinese fishing boat captain involved in a collision near disputed islands.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Friday that the U.S. hopes the decision will ease tensions between the two longtime Asian rivals.

Crowley says this is "how mature states resolve these things, through diplomacy."

He says the United States continues to support freedom of navigation in Asia.

China had been furious over Japan's arrest of the captain earlier this month after his trawler collided with two Japanese patrol boats near islands in the East China Sea claimed by both countries.

China and its neighbors are involved in numerous territorial disputes in Asian waters.