• Kyodo

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Two fishermen died and three others were missing after a large fishing boat sank in the Sea of Japan early Wednesday, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The 135-ton Gempuku Maru No. 1 with 20 crew members aboard — 17 Japanese and three Indonesians — sank about 48 km off the coast near Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, at around 4:40 a.m., the Coast Guard said.

Crews aboard other vessels rescued 17 people, two of whom later died.

The Coast Guard dispatched patrol boats to conduct a search, and the Japan Transport Safety Board said it sent three investigators to the area.

The Gempuku Maru No. 1 belongs to a local fishery cooperative union in Hirado. The group and the Hirado Municipal Government said the boat left Hirado in early December and was scheduled to reach Nagasaki port on Sunday with 100 tons of mackerel aboard.

The dead were identified as Shoichi Yokoyama, 59, and Keiji Tsukamoto, 56, both from Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture.

Missing are Mitsuyoshi Hamamoto, 52, Yoichi Imanishi, 60, and Akihiro Matsuguchi, 54, the Coast Guard said, adding that five individuals suffering from injuries were taken to a hospital in Hamada.

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