National

Japanese fishermen and officials enraged over North Korea's missile firing

JIJI

Fishermen and officials voiced anger and anxiety over North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile on Wednesday that fell into waters where Japanese fishing boats operate.

The North Korean missile is believed to have dropped into waters in the nation’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Shimane Prefecture, the government said.

“Our ships were operating there until last night. It’s unbearable that our main fishing area is used for missile testing,” said Genji Funamoto, 65, chairman of a fishing cooperative in neighboring Tottori Prefecture.

With crab season approaching, Funamoto noted the danger in fishing in those areas while North Korea launches missiles.

A 45-year-old Japan Fisheries Cooperatives official in Shimane said, “We can’t choose to refrain from going fishing because we have to live.”

Shimane Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama said, “The central government should act resolutely against North Korea in collaboration with allies.”

At a meeting of prefectural officials, Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai harshly criticized the missile firing.

“Such an act is outrageous,” he said.

Seiji Osaka, policy chief of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said in a statement that the missile launch is an outrageous act that damages the peace and safety of our country and the region.”

“Close cooperation with surrounding countries is indispensable, so improving Japan-South Korea relations is an urgent task,” Osaka said.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, asked the government to clarify how it has collaborated with the United States and South Korea in dealing with North Korea and what kind of pressure it has imposed on North Korea.

“Japanese people have various questions,” Nikai said.

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