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Russia Releases Japanese Fishing Boat After Assessing Fine

Japanese news agencies reported that a Japanese fishing vessel seized by Russian authorities in July for breaching the salmon quota has arrived home after being released.

The Hoko Maru No 10 arrived on September 1 at a port on the northern island of Hokkaido, from Kunashiri, an island administered by Russia but claimed also by Japan, the Kyodo News agency and Jiji Press reported.

Captain Masato Ito and 10 other crew on the 29-ton ship were operating in Russia's exclusive economic zone in July. The ship was seized by Russian authorities for exceeding the sockeye salmon quota by more than 470 kilograms.

A court on the island ordered the skipper last month to pay a fine of 200,000 rubles for illegal fishing. The crew members were not detained and they had to stay on the boat offshore until the ship was allowed to leave.

Kunashiri, parts of which are 20 kilometers from the Hokkaido coast, is part of an archipelago known as the Kuril Islands, controlled by Moscow. The islands are also claimed by Japan where they are called the Northern Territories.

Based on reporting by dpa, Jiji Press, and Kyodo News