Japan searching for capsized North Korea boat, report says

Oct. 16 (UPI) — A North Korean boat overturned then sunk in the Sea of Japan, and Japan’s fishing office is searching for the boat and survivors, according to Japanese press reports.

NHK reported Wednesday the sunken vessel was brought to the attention of Japanese authorities by another North Korean fishing boat that had telephoned the Japanese fishing office. The North Korean boat that called in the sinking described the sunken boat as a “companion vessel.”

It is unlikely that the boat sank because of clashes between the two North Korean vessels at sea, NHK reported, quoting Japanese fishing authorities.

The incident took place in the Yamato Shallows, near Japan’s Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.

The Mainichi Shimbun reported the call for help came at 10 a.m. local time. The call was picked up by a Japanese boat of the fisheries office in Niigata.

“Based on communication from what appears to be a North Korean vessel, we were informed that another North Korean fishing boat overturned and the crew fell into the sea,” the office in Niigata said.

The boat incident is being reported at a time when more North Korean vessels are capsizing in Japan-claimed waters. On Oct. 7, a North Korean boat reportedly collided with a Japanese vessel, the Okuni, about 217 miles from Japan’s Noto Peninsula. Japan’s coast guard rescued more than 60 North Koreans during the incident.

North Korean boats have also been venturing into Russia-claimed waters, causing Moscow to file protests.

The two countries have been rebuilding ties.

Russian news agency Tass reported Tuesday Pak Tae Song, chairman of Pyongyang’s Supreme People’s Assembly, is expected to visit Moscow next week.

Pak will begin his visit on Monday and meet with Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of Russia’s Federation Council, according to the report.

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