• Kyodo, JIJI


Russian authorities on Wednesday seized a Japanese fishing boat with six crew members aboard in waters off Russian-held, Japanese-claimed islands, the Hokkaido government said the same day.

A fishery cooperative based in Nemuro told the Hokkaido government that the boat was operating within 200 nautical miles of the disputed islands to catch cod when it was seized, it said.

The boat was taken to Furukamappu, known as Yuzhno-Kurilsk in Russia, on Kunashiri Island, one of the disputed islets that are referred to as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

In Tokyo on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the six crew members are not experiencing health problems.

“We’ll continue pushing the Russian side to return the crew and the boat swiftly from a humanitarian perspective,” Suga added.

The incident follows last month’s seizure of five Japanese fishing boats, also from Nemuro, by Russian border patrol authorities. The vessels and their 24 crew members were released after paying a fine.

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