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  Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Russia's Foreign Ministry protested Tuesday against a mass incursion of Japanese fishing boats into Russian territorial waters
Russia's Foreign Ministry protested Tuesday against a mass incursion of Japanese fishing boats into Russian territorial waters near the disputed southern Kuril Islands. On Sunday, 39 Japanese boats entered Russian waters illegally in the second incident this month involving Japanese fishermen in an area that Tokyo claims the Soviet Union took over illegally after World War II. "The Foreign Ministry summoned a representative of the Japanese Embassy in Moscow to deliver a resolute protest in connection with a large number of Japanese fishing boats entering Russian territorial waters near the South Kuril Islands on the morning of August 27," the ministry said in a statement. The boats appeared near the islands of Signalny and Anuchina between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. local time [between 7.00 and 8.00 p.m., August 28 GMT], ignoring Russian border guards' attempts to contact them by radio. They retreated when a Russian patrol ship arrived at the scene. "The Russian Foreign Ministry considers the actions of Japanese fishermen as an obvious provocation, which might not only mar the progressive development of bilateral relations but also impair the resolution of practical problems of Russian-Japanese fishing cooperation," the ministry said. A row broke out August 16 between Moscow and Tokyo after Russian border guards shot dead a Japanese crewmember on a vessel near the Kuril Islands. Russian officials said the vessel was suspected of illegally fishing for valuable crab in Russian territorial waters and that border guards had fired warning shots only after it refused to stop. A criminal case was launched against Sakashita Noboru, the vessel's captain, on August 17. A total of 30 fishing boats and 210 Japanese crewmembers were seized by Russia in the disputed waters between 1994 and 2005. Seven fishermen were injured when Russian patrolmen fired on them.
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