• Kyodo

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Russia released a Japanese boat and its 17 crew members after they were seized last month on suspicion of illegal fishing near the Russian-held Kunashiri Island, the Foreign Ministry said.

A Russian court had set bail of 11.5 million rubles ($182,000) earlier in the month for the release of the vessel.

The boat left Kunashiri on Tuesday, bound for Miyagi Prefecture, where most of the crew members live, the ministry said.

Russian authorities inspected the 199-ton saury fishing boat Choyo Maru No. 8 on Sept. 15 around 180 km southeast of Nemuro, Hokkaido, after it had fished in waters controlled by Russia.

The Russian coast guard said the fishing boat was found to have caught more than its allowed quota of mackerel as well as sardines, a species the boat were prohibited from catching.

Kunashiri is one of the four Japanese-claimed islands occupied by Russia.

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