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Tuna Nets Damaged In Submarine Hunt Japan, May 27, 13

Fishermen operating near Japan’s southern prefecture of Okinawa have reported that their tuna fishing nets were recently damaged by US naval vessels and Japanese ships.

The Cabinet Office’s Okinawa General Bureau says fishermen looking for bluefin tuna near Kumejima Island in the East China Sea reported that their nets were cut by US and Japanese vessels between May 12th and the 17th.

Ships dispatched to the area spotted a US Navy ocean surveillance vessel on the 12th and the 13th, and a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces’ ocean surveillance ship on the 16th and the 17th.

Surveillance vessels use sonar equipment attached to cables to monitor the sound made by submarine propellers.

Japanese Defense Ministry officials have contacted the US military about the matter, but have not received a response.

The Maritime Self-Defense Forces are already negotiating compensation with the fishermen, as nets were found tangled in cables from the Japanese vessels.

An unidentified submarine was found navigating right outside Japan’s territorial waters on the 12th and the 13th.

The Defense Ministry believes the submarine was Chinese.

A Chinese ship was also seen following a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel, keeping a 5-kilometer distance, on May 16th and the 17th.

A former Maritime Self-Defense Force official, Bonji Ohara, says it is likely that Japan and the United States were collecting information on Chinese submarines.

He adds that China may have been checking what kind of research activity Japan and the United States were carrying out.