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The wreckage of a suspected North Korean spy ship that sank in the East China Sea after exchanging fire with Japan Coast Guard vessels in December is expected to be brought to Japan for inspection late this month, the transport ministry said Monday.

Work to salvage the vessel has been halted due to Typhoon Rusa and is expected to be interrupted again by Typhoon Sinlaku, which is approaching the area, Land, Infrastructure and Transport Vice Minister Toshiki Aoyama told a news conference.

After Typhoon Sinlaku passes, the sunken ship will be raised onto a barge and transported to waters near Kagoshima, he said.

It will be brought ashore in late September, at the earliest, after its hull is confirmed safe.

The hull inspection will take about 10 days, Aoyama said.

Asked whether a political decision was made to bring the boat ashore after the Sept. 17 summit scheduled between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Aoyama said, “The work will proceed in a straightforward manner.”

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