• Kyodo


A suspected North Korean spy ship salvaged last week from the East China Sea by the Japan Coast Guard arrived Saturday in Kagoshima Bay aboard a massive barge.

Escorted by more than 10 vessels, most from the coast guard, the barge anchored some 3 km off the port of Kagoshima. The unidentified vessel will remain on the barge for about a week for safety checks.

The coast guard is likely to bring the ship ashore for a full investigation around next Friday, coast guard officials said. It has been placed in a tank of water to prevent corrosion.

The 100-ton ship sank in China’s exclusive economic zone about 390 km from the island of Amami-Oshima after exchanging gunfire with Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels on Dec. 22. It was raised on Wednesday.

Various types of weapons, including antiaircraft missiles, rocket launchers and grenades, were discovered on the seabed at a depth of 90 meters where the ship went down.

Japan claims the ship was a North Korean vessel apparently involved in espionage or drug-running. North Korea has denied the allegations.

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