Russian authorities on Wednesday seized a Japanese fishing boat with six crew members aboard in waters off Russian-held, Japanese-claimed islands, the Hokkaido government said.

A fishery cooperative based in Nemuro told the Hokkaido government that the boat was operating within 200 nautical miles of the disputed islands to catch codfish when it was seized, it said.

(Photo taken Jan. 30, 2019, from a Kyodo News airplane shows Kunashiri Island, one of four Russian-held islands off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.)

The boat was taken to Furukamappu, known as Yuzhno-Kurilsk in Russia, on Kunashiri Island, one of the disputed islets called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

The incident follows last month's seizure of five Japanese fishing boats also from Nemuro by the Russian border patrol authorities. The vessels and their 24 crew members were released after paying a fine.

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