KATSUURA, Japan, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The captain of the Atago apologized Wednesday to the family of two fishermen who are missing after the Japanese destroyer rammed their boat.
''I deeply apologize to the family and people of the fishery cooperative and the nation for having caused an incident of this kind with a destroyer tasked with the role of defending Japan,'' Capt. Ken Funato was quoted by the Kyodo news agency as saying.
Takashi Kichisei, 60, a relative of the missing men, expressed satisfaction with the apology.
''They have shown sufficient sincerity. We feel more relieved," Kichisei said.
Japan's defense minister has denied a coverup in last week's collision that claimed the lives of Haruo Kichisei, 58, and his son Tetsuhiro, 23.
Reporters questioned Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba about discrepancies between initial and later reports on the Feb. 19 collision, The Japan Times reported.
The major question is about a light the Atago spotted at 3:55 a.m., 12 minutes before the accident. The first report was that the Atago only saw the Seitoku's light at 4:05 a.m.
Ishiba said investigators haven't confirmed that the earlier light was on the Seitoku, since other trawlers were in the area.