Japanese border patrol agents have detained a Russian captain after he was caught illegally fishing for crab in Japanese waters.
An official at the Russian consulate in Japan's Sapporo told ITAR-Tass state-run news agency on Thursday that Alexander Sinebabnov had been detained after border patrol intercepted a fishing vessel under the Sierra Leone flag off the coast of Cape Soya.
The consulate did not provide any information about the rest of the crew.
Cape Soya — the northernmost part of Hokkaido island — is just 43 kilometers away from Cape Crillon, the southernmost point of Russia's island of Sakhalin.
Russia and Japan share a history of fishing disputes over the countries' exclusive economic zones.
In 2010, Russian border patrol agents with air support opened fire on two Japanese fishing vessels off the coast of the Kunashir Island — one of a chain of disputed islands known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Kuril Islands.