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Russia released Wednesday two of three Japanese fishermen detained in a fatal incident almost two weeks ago
Russia released Wednesday two of three Japanese fishermen detained in a fatal incident almost two weeks ago, a Russian coast guard spokesman said. Border guards shot dead another crewmember on the Japanese vessel in an incident on August 16 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 had refused to stop. Japan sent a patrol boat for its fisherman, Akiyoshi Kawamura, 29, and Haruki Kamiya, 25, this morning. The Russian spokesman earlier in the day said the fishermen would be returned to Japanese authorities after a short meeting of a local cost guard chief with Japanese officials. The boat's captain, Noboru Sakashita, 59, took all the blame for the alleged poaching incident while being questioned by Russian authorities. He said the crewmembers were not aware they had cross Russia's maritime border and now faces trial on charges of border violation and illegal fishing. Relations between Russia and Japan have long been strained over the Kurils. Japan maintains their seizure by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II was illegal and the dispute has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty. 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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