Japan chases and sinks ‘illegal’ North Korea fishing vessel – crewmen missing

Japanese coastguard officials said an emergency operation involving seven government ships and aircraft had been launched. The coastguard said more than 20 North Korean crew members had been rescued after the vessel went down. The collision took place 217 miles northwest of Noto peninsula within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

A coastguard spokesman said: “We don’t know how many were on board in the first place but we were informed that more than 20 were rescued. It appears probably no one else is left in the water.”

Satoshi Kuwahara, head of Japan’s Fisheries Agency’s enforcement division, said: “Normally, we police illegal fishing with such steps as using water cannon or showing messages on electronic displays.

“This time, the contact happened while we were warning the ship to sail away.”

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