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International relations

Russia releases 5 Japanese fishing boats seized off Hokkaido

Crews fined for allegedly exceeding catch quotas in waters near disputed islands

VLADIVOSTOK (Kyodo) -- Russia released Tuesday five Japanese fishing boats seized in waters off Hokkaido in mid-December, a lawyer for the vessels' crews said.

The release came after a Russian court ordered crews of the boats to pay a fine for violating regulations on the size of the catch Japanese vessels can take from waters around the Russian-held, Japan-claimed islands.

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