Japan protested the fatal shooting of a crab boat fisherman by a Russian patrol boat in disputed waters and called for the release of his three shipmates.
The man, whose name wasn't released, was shot to death by a Russian border patrol, the Japan Coast Guard said in a faxed statement. Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the government was taking the matter seriously and said Russia must release the crew of the crab boat.
The boat was captured by the Russian patrol near Kaigara Island, the Coast Guard said. The other crew members were taken into custody, Bloomberg reports.
Mikhial Galuzin, deputy head of the Russian Embassy in Tokyo, said the patrol boat had taken the Japanese boat in Russian waters, and his government is trying to determine the condition of the other three crewmen Kyodo News reported. Japan's Foreign Ministry filed a protest during a meeting with Galuzin, Kyodo said.
Both countries lay claim to the four disputed islands, which Russia calls the southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories.
The dispute has stopped the two nations signing a peace treaty to end WWII.
Russia has said it will hand over some of the islands to Japan, but Tokyo insists all four should be returned, BBC reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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