According to Reuters, the collision took place 350 km (220 miles) northwest of Noto peninsula in central Japan and the Fisheries Agency and Coast Guard mobilized seven ships and aircraft to search for North Korean crew members shortly after the collision at about 9:00 a.m. (0000 GMT).
Reportedly, none of those on board are believed to be missing, and no life-threatening injuries were reported. The Fisheries Agency vessel transferred all the survivors to another North Korean boat for recovery and the North Korean authorities were shortly notified about the incident.
The authorities began an investigation to establish what caused the collision.
The Coast Guard did not give any further details about how the two ships crashed in the Sea of Japan, but the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Taku Eto stated that “the collision happened because the other ship took a sharp turn”.
Japanese officials stated that the North Korean vessel had entered Japan's EEZ without relevant permission and the Japanese patrol boat, which was not seriously damaged from the crash, was in the process of ordering the fishing vessel to leave when the collision happened.
In fact, according to Reuters, a Japanese official said the North Korean boat was fishing illegally in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Satoshi Kuwahara, head of the Fisheries Agency’s enforcement division stated that “normally, we police illegal fishing with such steps as using water cannon or showing messages on electronic displays”. In addition, the collision took place near Yamato Shallows, almost 150-190 nm off the town of Wajima on Honshu's east coast, a rich fishing ground, where, according to Japan, North Koreans are illegally poaching squid in the area.
Moreover, Japan has established a large-scale effort in order to prevent poaching. Japanese patrol vessels have ordered about 500 foreign poaching vessels to leave Japan's EEZ, including 300 in the same area throughout the summer period.
Overall, there is a dispute between Japan and North Korea, as recently Japan removed South Korea from a "white list" of trusted trading partners, escalating the already damaged diplomatic relations between the two states in regard to wartime reparations.Following, South Korean government also revealed plans to remove Japan from its own white list.