The Japan Coast Guard is ready to work more closely with the Self-Defense Forces to deal with unidentified suspicious ships after such a ship sank in the East China Sea in December after a shootout with patrol boats, the coast guard said in an annual report released Monday.

The report says the coast guard will cooperate with the SDF and upgrade the capabilities of its large-scale, high-speed patrol vessels and their machineguns to prepare for similar incidents.

The report, which includes color photos to explain how the coast guard dealt with the December incident, mentions the coast guard’s willingness to raise the vessel from the East China Sea, possibly by the end of this month.

“We will take appropriate measures, negotiating with the Chinese authorities,” it said.

Tokyo says it believes the unidentified ship was from North Korea and was engaged in spying or drug-running. North Korea has denied the allegations.

The annual report also covers the coast guard’s oceanographic investigations, including its development of an electronic marine chart for access via personal computers and its surveillance of undersea volcanoes.

The report will be available at subway stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area for 1,575 yen. It is the first time for reports or white papers released by ministries and agencies to be sold at kiosks.

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