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Most of the North Korean freighters that underwent inspections this year after entering Japanese ports failed to meet the standards set by an international maritime safety pact, transport minister Chikage Ogi said Tuesday.

Ogi made the comment in relation to Toyama Prefecture’s recent rejection of a request from a North Korean ship to enter port after it earlier failed to pass a so-called port state control inspection when it was in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, in March.

Ogi acknowledged Toyama’s move to bar the ship, saying the vessel neglected to follow the Kyushu regional transport bureau’s order to rectify the safety shortcomings found in the earlier inspection.

Ogi said her ministry has inspected 78 North Korean vessels to see if their lifeboats, navigational charts and oil-spill prevention equipment were in proper order and in compliance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and found that 64 of the ships failed to meet the safety standards.

Those vessels were given stern orders to correct their shortcomings.

Last year, the ministry inspected 40 North Korean vessels and found that 23 were ill-equipped and not up to safety standards.

Last year, 4,311 foreign vessels underwent the inspections upon entering Japanese ports, with 455 failing to pass muster.

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