TOKYO Jan 15 A Japanese Self-Defence Force ship
and a leisure fishing boat collided off the coast of Hiroshima
in western Japan, leaving two of the fishing boat's crew in
critical condition, the country's defence minister said on
The fishing boat, with four crew, capsized after the
collision with the vessel "Osumi" at around 8 a.m. (2300 GMT).
The cause of the collision is still being investigated, the
Japanese Coast Guard said.
"This accident is very regrettable," Defence Minister
Itsunori Onodera told an emergency news conference after the
accident, pledging full cooperation and help with the probe.
The accident comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe boosts
military spending to counter a more militarily assertive China,
with ships from the two countries shadowing each other around a
group of East China Sea islets claimed by both.
Japan calls the islands the Senkaku and China calls them the
The accident occurred in the Seto Inland Sea to the east of
Atatajima, a small island off the coast of Hiroshima city, the
Coast Guard said, adding that the remaining two crew of the
fishing boat were conscious and their lives were not in danger.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)