• Kyodo

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Another approaching typhoon forced the Japan Coast Guard on Saturday to extend a suspension of its operations to raise the unidentified ship that sank in the East China Sea last December after a shootout with Japanese patrol vessels.

The coast guard suspended the operation July 1 and removed vessels tasked with the salvage work from the area due to the season’s fifth typhoon. Another typhoon is now in the south of the Japanese archipelago.

The sunken ship lies on the seabed some 90 meters below the surface and about 390 km west-northwest of Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Japan believes the ship was North Korean and on a spying or drug-trafficking mission off the Japanese coast when intercepted by the coast guard. North Korea has denied the allegations.

An estimated 15 people were aboard the ship, all of whom are believed to have died in the incident. The coast guard has recovered the remains of four people.

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