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  Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Russia's foreign minister reiterated a demand Wednesday for Japan to act against poachers in Russia's territorial waters
Russia's foreign minister reiterated a demand Wednesday for Japan to act against poachers in Russia's territorial waters, the ministry said. Sergei Lavrov told Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Katsuoshi Kaneda, "The Japanese side should fulfill its promises and take effective measures to stop poaching in waters under Russia's jurisdiction." Lavrov also highlighted "recent frequent violations of Russia's state border and territorial waters by Japanese fishing vessels despite Russia's repeatedly addressing Japan's authorities about this issue." On Sunday morning, 39 Japanese boats entered Russian waters and remained there for an hour until a Russian patrol boat arrived. The incident came after Russian border guards shot dead a crewmember of a Japanese vessel near the Kuril Islands on August 16. 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. The boat's captain, Noboru Sakashita, 59, is reported to have taken responsibility for the alleged poaching incident while being questioned by Russian authorities. He said the crewmembers were unaware they had crossed Russia's maritime border and he now faces trial on charges of border violation and illegal fishing. The other two fishermen on the vessel at the time of the incident were released earlier on Wednesday, and Kaneda thanked Lavrov for their release. 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.
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