A Japanese crab fishing boat that was seized by Russia has returned to Japan.
The No.68 Nishino-maru arrived at the port of Sakai in Tottori Prefecture on Sunday morning. There were 10 crew members on board.
Russian officials, who suspected that the boat was fishing illegally in the Sea of Japan, seized the vessel in January. It was brought to the port of Nakhodka in the Russian Far East and was kept there until it was released on Thursday.
Local border patrol authorities say that the captain admitted to fishing illegally and paid the equivalent of about 580,000 dollars for the boat's release. That's how much the Russians say the ship's illegal fishing activities caused in damages.
But a lawyer for the fishing boat operator does not believe the boat operated in Russia's exclusive economic zone.
The boat's captain, Hideji Kagami, apologized for the trouble caused by the boat's seizure. He said that he's relieved to be back after being away for a long time.
The vessel belongs to a crab fishing cooperative in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan.