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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japanese Captain Fined for Poaching

ReutersNoboru Sakashita, right, captain of a Japanese fishing boat, waiting to be sentenced in a Russian court on Thursday.
TOKYO -- A Japanese fishing boat captain accused of poaching and illegally crossing a state border was fined in a Russian court Thursday, a Japanese official said, adding that the legal process had been "unacceptable."

Noboru Sakashita was indicted earlier this month and has been in Russian custody since Aug. 16, when shots fired by a Russian coast guard vessel killed one of the crab fishermen aboard his boat.

Sakashita pleaded guilty during a court session Thursday, saying: "I deeply regret the poaching incident," Kyodo News agency reported from Vladivostok.

Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Jinen Nagase confirmed that the court had fined Sakashita 500,000 rubles ($18,750).

Nagase said the Russian court's procedure was "unacceptable from our viewpoint on territorial issues."

He said the date of Sakashita's release had not been set.

"We haven't heard about the release of the captain. We will continue to request the early release of the captain and the ship," Nagase told reporters.

Both countries claim Sakashita's boat was in their own territorial waters when Russian coast guards opened fire. Russian officials say coast guards fired a warning shot after the boat failed to heed orders to halt, and that the shot accidentally killed the fisherman.

The incident took place in disputed waters near the southernmost of four islands claimed by both countries.

Japan calls them the Northern Territories while Russia calls them the southern Kurils.