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The Latest: Japan’s Abe vows to take steps against poachers

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An official of the Japanese Fisheries Agency speaks to media following a collision between its patrol boat and a North Korean fishing boat, in Tokyo Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. The agency said Monday’s collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai, off Japan’s northern coast of the Noto Peninsula. (Mizuki Ikari/Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on a collision between a Japanese fisheries patrol ship and a North Korea fishing boat (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to thoroughly investigate the case of a North Korean fishing boat that collided with a Japanese patrol ship in waters frequented by poachers.

During Monday’s parliamentary session, Abe pledged to “resolutely respond to prevent poaching by foreign fishing boats in the Japanese exclusive economic zone.”

Japanese Coast Guard officials said they have rescued “dozens” of North Korean fishermen after Monday’s collision in the waters off Japan’s northern coast, known as rich fishing grounds.

Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean squid poaching has surged.

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6:10 p.m.

Japan’s Coast Guard says it has rescued “dozens” of North Korean fishermen after a collision at sea, far more than the authorities’ first thought were aboard the vessel.

Coast Guard officials earlier said about 20 North Korean crewmembers were thrown into the sea after their steel boat collided with a Japanese Fisheries Agency inspection boat Monday off the northern Japanese coast.

The coast guard said they were sorting out the number of fishermen and making sure nobody was missing.

The North Korean boat sank about half an hour after the collision in the area called Yamatotai, known as rich ground for squid fishing northwest of the Noto Peninsula.

A regional coast guard office in northern Japan said the North Korean crewmembers had no life-threatening conditions and were being taken to land.

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2 p.m.

Japan’s Coast Guard says a North Korean fishing vessel has sunk after it collided with a Japanese fisheries patrol boat, with all 20 of its crewmembers thrown into the sea.

The Coast Guard says the 1,300-ton Japanese fisheries patrol boat Okuni and the North Korean steel boat collided Monday off the northern Japanese coast, at a location about 350 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of the Noto Peninsula.

The Fisheries Agency says its patrol vessel, joined by Coast Guard aircraft and ships, has rescued an unspecified number of North Korean fishermen and is searching for the others.

The area is known as rich ground for squid fishing. Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean poaching has surged.

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12:40 p.m.

Japan Coast Guard says it’s trying to rescue 20 North Korean fishermen thrown to sea after their boat collided with a Japanese fisheries patrol boat.

The Coast Guard said its aircraft and patrol boats were joining the search and rescue operations by the Japanese fisheries agency boat Okuni after it collided with the North Korean boat off the northern Japanese coast Monday morning.

The Fisheries Agency said the collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai, off Japan’s northern coast of the Noto Peninsula known as rich ground for squid fishing.

Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean squid poaching has surged.

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11:45 a.m.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency says its patrol boat and a North Korean fishing boat have collided in waters off Japan’s northern coast crowded with poachers from the North.

The agency said Monday’s collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai, off Japan’s northern coast of the Noto Peninsula.

The agency said the Japanese patrol ship had no damage and the condition of the other boat was being assessed.

Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean squid poaching has surged.

Experts say the increase is due to Pyongyang’s campaign to boost fish harvests.

Japan’s coast guard in June pushed more than 300 North Korean boats back from the same waters. Japan also said an armed North Korean fishing boat “threatened” a Japanese patrol ship in August.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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