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RPT-China lifts de facto rare earth ban -Japan media

(Repeats to cover alert)

TOKYO, Sept 29 (Reuters) - China has resumed accepting customs clearance applications for exports to Japan of rare earth metals, Japanese media said on Wednesday, easing concerns about a possible de facto ban on shipments of the vital elements.

Asia’s two biggest economies have been feuding over Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing boat skipper whose trawler collided this month with two Japan Coast Guard ships near uninhabited islands in the East China Sea -- called the Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan -- that both sides claim. Japan released the skipper on Saturday.

China has denied imposing a ban on the rare earth metals, essential for a raft of products from electronics to cars, and Japan’s government was investigating the situation. (Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Michael Watson)