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Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Monday that Pyongyang should give a sincere explanation about its ties to two unidentified vessels that intruded into Japanese waters last week before fleeing to North Korea.

Nonaka said the government has not confirmed media reports that several North Koreans landed on the Pacific side of Japan while the Self-Defense Forces and Maritime Safety Agency were chasing the two mystery ships.

Hitting North Korea’s claim that the ship intrusions were part of a Japanese conspiracy to help enact legislative bills concerning updated Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines, Nonaka reiterated that such allegations are completely wrong. “The government believes the two foreign vessels, which intruded into Japanese waters, are spy ships. … We have confirmed that the unidentified ships entered a port in the northern part of North Korea,” he told a news conference.

North Korea on Saturday denied that its spy boats had intruded into Japanese waters, calling the reports an anti-Pyongyang “fiction invented by the Japanese reactionaries.”

Nonaka said Tokyo continues to call on North Korea — through indirect diplomatic channels in Beijing and New York — to seize the two vessels and hand them over to Japan. But Pyongyang insists it has nothing to do with the incident and has not responded well to Japan, the top government spokesman added.

On the reported Pacific coast landings of North Koreans, Nonaka said, “We are currently trying to confirm the reported incident.” Nonaka added that several attempts by foreigners to illegally land at Japanese ports have been recently reported, and police and the MSA have strengthened their presence along Japanese shores.

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