NHK reported at noon on the finding that a North Korean government ship spotted in the Yamatotai fishing grounds off the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture around the end of June was equipped with a mobile-type anti-aircraft missile, saying that the Japan Coast Guard is increasing vigilance to ensure the safety of Japanese fishing boats operating in the area. The network explained that in recent years, North Korean and Chinese fishing boats have been spotted operating in the Yamatotai fishing grounds located within Japan’s EEZ. The network said although North Korean fishing boats have not been spotted near the fishing grounds since June of this year, North Korean government ships have been frequently spotted sailing in the area, according to a source.
The network said the mobile anti-aircraft missile is the same type as the SA-16 missile developed by the former Soviet Union, adding that it is believed to have a range of 4.5 km. The network added that although the North Korean spy ship that sank in the East China Sea off Amami-Oshima after an exchange of gunfire with a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel in 2001 was also equipped with the same missile, this was the first time for the Japan Coast Guard to confirm a North Korean government ship equipped with the missile near the Yamatotai fishing grounds.