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Japanese official arrives in Moscow to discuss fishing incident

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The general secretary of Japan's ruling Liberal-Democratic Party arrived at the Russian Foreign Ministry Friday to discuss the consequences of a poaching incident involving a Japanese fishing vessel.
MOSCOW, August 25 (RIA Novosti) - The general secretary of Japan's ruling Liberal-Democratic Party arrived at the Russian Foreign Ministry Friday to discuss the consequences of a poaching incident involving a Japanese fishing vessel.

A row broke out August 16 between Moscow and Tokyo after Russia shot dead a Japanese crewmember of a fishing vessel allegedly poaching in Russian territorial waters. Japan said a Russian patrol boat opened fire on the Japanese vessel, killing one man aboard. Russian officials said the vessel was suspected of illegally fishing for valuable crab in Russian territorial waters, and that border guards fired warning shots only after it refused to stop.

Tsutomu Takebe is expected to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov.

Takebe will also discuss the development of parliamentary relations between Russia and Japan.

Russian authorities handed over the fisherman's body Saturday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it regretted the death of the fisherman, but added that responsibility also rested with Japanese authorities for failing to address the poaching problem after Moscow repeatedly highlighted it.

Crab fishing in the area, which is administered by Russia but claimed by Japan, is illegal, although it is unclear whether the vessel was fishing at the time of the incident.

Relations between Russia and Japan have long been strained over the Kuril Islands. Japan maintains their seizure by the Soviet Union at the end of WWII was illegal, and the dispute has until now 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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