Japan Releases S’Korean Fishing Vessel Captain


Japan’s Coast Guard said it had released a South Korean fishing boat captain who was arrested after his trawler refused an order to stop in Japanese waters.

The captain’s release puts a quick end to the incident.

The incident, which occurred recently, follows a bitter dispute involving a Chinese fishing vessel and the Japanese Coast Guard last year, which developed into a diplomatic row between both countries.

The speedy release was expected after the South Korean Coast Guard said earlier  that a joint investigation with its Japanese counterpart showed the boat was not fishing illegally.

The captain would, however, be fined 3,000 dollars for refusing the order to stop.

The vessel was chased by Japanese patrol boats in waters 42 miles east of disputed isles  known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan before it sailed back into South Korean waters, a statement by the South Korean Coast Guard said.

In the face of North Korean hostility, Seoul and Tokyo have put behind years of animosity over Japanese colonial rule at the start of last century to strengthen bilateral ties.

The defence ministers of the two countries have agreed to boost military cooperation.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara is due to visit Seoul on Saturday for more talks about how to deal with Pyongyang and how to further strengthen their deterence against the North.