• Kyodo News


Russia may seek damages for excess catches by four Japanese firms that fished illegally in Russia’s exclusive economic zone, officials of the Fisheries Agency said Tuesday.

The Russian administration referred to the possibility during a meeting Monday in Moscow with Japanese officials over the illegal fishing of Alaska pollack, they said.

While Russia didn’t specify from whom it would seek the damages, it apparently had in mind acting against the fishing companies, which allegedly bribed Russian officials to exceed their quotas, the agency officials said.

The total amount of the bribes is believed to have reached ¥500 million.

The Russian side asked the agency to provide it with information on the exact amount of excess catches to help tally the possible damages. The agency promised to meet the request if it obtains such information through its future fact-finding, the officials said.

The agency has already suspended the companies from engaging in fishing due to their violation of the fisheries law. As it continues its investigation, it is considering sending cases to prosecutors against officials in the companies.

The four companies, based in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, and in Wakkanai and Kushiro in Hokkaido, have admitted catching more than their allotted quotas from 2007 to 2009, according to agency officials.

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