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International relations

Japan to disclose footage of radar lock-on by South Korean ship

Two sides remain far apart over what happened to a Japanese patrol plane

A South Korean destroyer allegedly trained its fire control radar on a Japanese patrol plane for several minutes last week, stoking further tensions between the two countries.   © Reuters

TOKYO/SEOUL (Kyodo) -- Japan's Defense Ministry plans to release on Friday at the earliest video footage related to an incident last week in which a South Korean warship locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol plane, a Japanese government source said Thursday.

Japan disclosed last Friday that the destroyer directed its fire-control radar at the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force P-1 patrol plane at around 3 p.m. the previous day, saying it was a step away from actually firing.

South Korea denied Japan's claim, saying the destroyer was at the scene at the time to rescue a North Korean fishing boat in distress and used an optical camera.

Earlier in the day, the two countries remained far apart in working-level teleconference talks over the dispute associated with what Tokyo said was an "extremely dangerous act" by the South Korean destroyer in the Sea of Japan.

The talks lasted about two hours, but the two countries failed to reach any consensus, apart from agreeing on the need to continue necessary discussions, according to a Japanese Defense Ministry official.

Japan again urged the South Korean side to prevent a recurrence of this kind of incident and reiterated Tokyo's regret, according to the ministry.

Japan also showed evidence, in a manner that did not expose its defense capabilities, in an attempt to counter Seoul's assertion, the ministry said.

South Korea's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said after the teleconference that they discussed "the facts and technical analysis" to "remove misunderstandings."

It added that the talks were held in a "friendly and sincere atmosphere."

The teleconference, attended by about 20 officials from each side, came after senior diplomats of the two countries failed to bridge the gap on Monday in Seoul.

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