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Japan, S. Korea to resume fishery talks in Seoul.

TOKYO, Dec. 26 Kyodo

Japan and South Korea will hold a meeting on Thursday and Friday in Seoul to set the terms for fishing operations for next year in each other's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, including controversial saury catches by South Koreans, Japan's Fisheries Agency said Wednesday.

At the meeting, Japan will be represented by Hiroshi Unno, director general of the Resources Management Department of the agency, with South Korea represented by Park Dok Bae, head of the Fishery Resources Bureau of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

One of the major issues at the meeting will be what terms Japan grant for saury fishing by South Korean boats in waters off the Sanriku coastal area of northeastern Japan, Japanese government officials said.

The two sides will also discuss how sharply they should cut each other's overall catch quotas inside each other's zone and about the number of fishing boats they will be allowed to use in each other's zone.

They have also remained at odds over the permissible volumes of each other's catches of types of fish other than saury.

Negotiations are likely to continue to the end of this year, so that their fishermen can start operating shortly after the new year begins.

This year, Japan banned South Koreans from catching saury off Sanriku in retaliation for South Koreans catching saury in waters surrounding four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido whose ownership is claimed by Japan.

The sovereignty row has been a decades-long issue between Tokyo and Moscow. The islands were seized by Russian troops at the end of World War II.

Saury fishing by South Koreans has been the source of simmering tensions since last year, when Russia gave South Korea permission to fish for saury in the waters around the disputed islands.

After Japan repeatedly lodged protests in connection with the sovereignty issue, Russia made it clear it will not permit South Koreans to fish around the islands next year.

In return, the South Korean side is now demanding that its fishermen be given permission to expand their fishing area off Sanriku.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Dec 31, 2001
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