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Japan releases video showing N. Korea fishing boat collision

PRIMORYE TERRITORY, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 18, 2019: Russian border guards detain North Korean poachers in the Russian waters of the Sea of Japan. Russia's border guard, aviation, and special tasks subdivisions have detained over 160 North Korean citizens on racketeering ships and eleven motor boats for illegal fishing and harvesting of aquatic bioresources; four Russian border guards have been injured during the operation. Video screen grab/Russian Federal Security Service/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

TOKYO, Oct 19, 2019, Kyodo. The government released video footage Friday showing last week’s collision between a Japanese patrol ship and a North Korean fishing vessel in an effort to demonstrate that Japan took appropriate action, reported The Mainichi.

The 13-minute-long footage shows the North Korean vessel sank after colliding with the patrol ship Okuni, operated by the Fisheries Agency, on Oct. 7 off Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, conflicting with Pyongyang’s claim that Japan deliberately sank the ship.

The Okuni directed a water cannon at the North Korean vessel after it failed to comply with a warning to leave the waters in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the footage shows.

The two ships were traveling in parallel, but the North Korean vessel swerved to the left, hit the Japanese ship and subsequently sank.

“We released (the footage) in the public interest in order to inform people that we’re conducting enforcement operations appropriately,” agency official Takashi Koya said at a press conference.

The action of the patrol ship and the use of the water cannon were “appropriate,” Koya said.

The footage shows that the Okuni sent lifeboats for the North Korean crew, who survived and left the area on a North Korean vessel that was nearby.

The vessel that sank is believed to have been illegally fishing in the area after fishing nets, gear and lines of drying squid were visible on the deck.

On Saturday, North Korea demanded compensation for what it claimed to be Japan’s deliberate sinking of the vessel. Pyongyang also urged Tokyo to take steps to prevent a recurrence.

Japan termed the claims “totally unacceptable.”

A Japanese Coast Guard patrol ship that arrived following the incident did not question North Korean crew members about the collision, prompting both ruling and opposition parties to demand release of the footage.

The Japanese government was initially reluctant to release it but shifted the policy aiming to show the Okuni’s actions were appropriate.

The original four-hour footage was edited to show just 13 minutes of the incident.

The collision occurred some 350 kilometers northwest of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, an area near fertile fishing waters, especially for squid.

The area has seen a rise in illegal fishing by North Korean and Chinese ships, and Japanese authorities have been stepping up their patrols.

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