The Latest: 20 N Korean crew thrown to sea in boat collision

TOKYO — The Latest on a collision between a Japanese fisheries patrol ship and a North Korea fishing boat (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Japan Coast Guard says it's trying to rescue 20 North Korean fishermen thrown to sea after their boat collided with a Japanese fisheries patrol boat.

The Coast Guard said its aircraft and patrol boats were joining the search and rescue operations by the Japanese fisheries agency boat Okuni after it collided with the North Korean boat off the northern Japanese coast Monday morning.

The Fisheries Agency said the collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai, off Japan's northern coast of the Noto Peninsula known as rich ground for squid fishing.

Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean squid poaching has surged.

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11:45 a.m.

The Japanese Fisheries Agency says its patrol boat and a North Korean fishing boat have collided in waters off Japan's northern coast crowded with poachers from the North.

The agency said Monday's collision occurred in the area known as Yamatotai, off Japan's northern coast of the Noto Peninsula.

The agency said the Japanese patrol ship had no damage and the condition of the other boat was being assessed.

Japan has stepped up patrols in the area as North Korean squid poaching has surged.

Experts say the increase is due to Pyongyang's campaign to boost fish harvests.

Japan's coast guard in June pushed more than 300 North Korean boats back from the same waters. Japan also said an armed North Korean fishing boat "threatened" a Japanese patrol ship in August.

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