North Korean fishing boat's crew rescued after colliding with Japanese ship

An official of the Japanese Fisheries Agency speaks to media following a collision between its patrol boat and a North Korean fishing boat in Tokyo Monday Oct. 7 2019. The agency said Monday's collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai off

The crew of a North Korean fishing boat has been rescued after a collision with a Japanese Fisheries Agency patrol ship.

The North Korean ship sank about half an hour after the collision, Japan's coast guard said.

The collision took place 217 miles northwest of Noto peninsula within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

All the crew members that abandoned the fishing boat were rescued and handed over to another North Korean ship, the Coast Guard said.

The coast guard has issued warnings to 1,016 North Korean ships to leave the waters as of the morning of October 7. They said they were still doing the math and making sure nobody was missing. The two countries also have disputes over Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, as well as North Korea's nuclear and missile development and the issue of the North's abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

The incident follows enhanced patrols in the area known as the Yamatotai since this summer, as well as increased focus on the area by the JCG in recent years owing to what it describes as North Korean illegal poaching activities in Japan's EEZ.

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Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Taku Eto said the North Korean boat suddenly changed course before crashing into the Japanese ship and sinking, Kyodo News agency reported.

Japan's coast guard said in a statement: "We have confirmed that there was a collision, and we are now investigating the details".

The agency used water cannon in 120 of those cases, according to its website. It said the North Korean crewmembers had no life-threatening conditions.

"The expulsion of the Japanese ships from our zone is a just and righteous exercise of our sovereign rights", the foreign ministry statement read, adding it had sent an official complaint through diplomatic channels.

It says the North Korean boat drew too close and made contact as it was being warned away. Japan also said an armed North Korean fishing boat "threatened" a Japanese patrol ship in August.

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