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Japan protests S. Korea's request for cancellation of maritime survey

Diplomacy 23:14 January 22, 2021

TOKYO, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- Japan protested Friday after the Korean Coast Guard requested a Japanese survey vessel stop operations in waters between the two neighbors.

Japan's Coast Guard said its vessel Takuyo was conducting maritime research about 163 kilometers west of Meshima in the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, when the South Korean authorities began to ask it to cancel operations at around 6:20 a.m.

The area, southeast of the South Korean island of Jeju, belongs to the exclusive economic zones claimed by both countries.

The vessel rejected the request and the Coast Guard lodged a complaint with South Korea through a diplomatic channel, it added.

This undated Wikipedia photo shows the Japanese survey ship Takuyo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

According to a report by Kyodo News, the vessel started sailing Friday and is expected to continue operating until next week, regardless of South Korea's complaint.

A similar incident occurred last week, when South Korea requested another Japanese survey vessel to halt investigation in a nearby area.

South Korea then defended its action as a legitimate act of law enforcement, accusing the Japanese ship of operating in waters under South Korean jurisdiction.

The incident came amid heightened tensions between Seoul and Tokyo over the long-running issues of Japan's wartime sexual slavery and forced labor, as well as export restrictions.

An EEZ is a sea zone that a country has special rights over regarding the exploration and use of marine resources. It stretches out to 200 nautical miles from the shore.

For Japan, the location is about 139 nautical miles west of islands off the western coast of Nagasaki.

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