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Russia releases Japanese fishermen: consulate

All the 10 Japanese fishermen captured by Russian authorities last month were released on Saturday, the Japanese consulate in Vladivostok told.

world Updated: Feb 07, 2009 22:00 IST

All the 10 Japanese fishermen captured by Russian authorities last month were released on Saturday, the Japanese consulate in Vladivostok told

AFP

.

"The fishing boat left the pier, with the fishermen now preparing to sail back to Japan," a consulate official said.

The company that owns the fishing boat had agreed to pay a settlement last week and expected the crew members to be released as soon as the Russian authorities confirm it was deposited. It declined to disclose the sum.

The No 38 Yoshi Maru was seized by Russian authorities last month in waters between the two countries and was taken to the Russian port of Nakhodka.

The 122-tonne ship was seized as it was crab fishing about 480 kilometres north of Japan's western Tottori prefecture, according to Japanese officials.

Russia and Japan have frequently clashed over fishing rights. But the capture took place in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), not near disputed islands where previous incidents have occurred.

Japan and Russia have not yet signed a peace treaty to end World War II because of the dispute over the islands, which the Soviet Union seized days after Japan surrendered in 1945.