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Coast Guard chases off 460 North Korean fishing boats in Sea of Japan since July 9

  • July 21, 2017
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 6
  • JMH Translation

The government has begun to take steps to chase off the rapidly increasing North Korean fishing boats engaged in illegal operations in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Sea of Japan. It has deployed large Japan Coast Guard (JCG) patrol boats and aircraft to launch an intensive campaign which has chased off 460 boats since July 9. This operation is part of increased vigilance against North Korea.

 

Illegal fishing boats tend to gather near the “Yamato Bank” in the middle of the Sea of Japan. According to the Japan Squid Fisheries Association, there were times when 300 fishing boats would arrive in a single day.

 

In late May, Japanese fishing boats were forced to leave the area by a large group of North Korean vessels to avoid accidents.

 

While the Fisheries Agency has been responsible for dealing with North Korean boats, there was an incident on July 7 in which a North Korean vessel aimed a gun at the agency’s patrol boat. The government has strengthened security at the request of fisheries groups.

 

The JCG has dispatched five medium-size and large patrol boats of the Ninth JCG Regional Headquarters (based in Niigata) to this sea area. North Korean boats are chased off by loudspeaker warnings and sometimes with powerful water cannons. (Abridged)

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