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Japan to set up coastal surveillance to check North Korea boats

By Elizabeth Shim
Japan's coast guard is stepping up surveillance of North Korean boats. File Photo by Mark. R. Cristino/EPA
Japan's coast guard is stepping up surveillance of North Korean boats. File Photo by Mark. R. Cristino/EPA

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The Japanese government has decided to establish a network of cameras to monitor North Korean vessels trespassing into territorial waters, according to a Japanese press report.

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday Tokyo plans to set up a system of surveillance cameras along coastal areas facing the Sea of Japan, where North Korean vessels have appeared.

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The cameras would monitor the waters 24 hours a day, according to the report.

The Japanese coast guard already maintains surveillance via satellite. The land-based camera surveillance would complement existing satellite technology.

If a boat is suspected of being of North Korean origin and is captured on surveillance footage, local police and coast guard would be informed of the ship's movements, so the boat and crew could be identified before they land on Japanese shores.

In the last few years, North Korean wooden vessels have been floating into Japanese waters. Sometimes boats would appear with dead crewmembers on board.

The number of North Korean fishing boats entering Japanese waters remains high.

In 2017, a total of 104 North Korean vessels drifted into Japan's area, the highest on record since Tokyo began keeping track of the entries in 2013.

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Last week, Japan disclosed footage of its coast guard using water cannons to expel a North Korean fishing boat.

Tokyo Broadcasting System reported the footage was filmed in the Sea of Japan around June or July.

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