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The number of criminal cases handled by the Japan Coast Guard in 2002, including ship collisions and injuries to ferry passengers, totaled 1,364, the highest figure in five years, according to a coast guard report released Friday.

The report states, however, that the total number of cases in which the coast guard took regulatory action stood at 4,831, down 14 percent from the 5,604 cases recorded the previous year and the lowest number in five years.

Among the criminal cases in question, 1,140 involved professional negligence resulting in traffic disruption, such as collisions and running aground, the report says.

There were 145 cases of professional negligence resulting in death or injury, and 29 cases involving the infliction of injuries.

There were also 44 hit-and-run cases involving sea vessels, the report states.

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