Japan set to take measures over U.S. sub’s crashing into its trawler

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has described reports that civilians on the submarine distracted the crew as "deplorable" and called for an intensive probe. A US Naval Court of Inquiry will convene in Hawaii next week to examine the incident. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is to issue a temporary ban on civilians taking the controls of all US military vehicles, ships, and aircraft. The announcement by the Pentagon follows reports that civilians distracted the crew of an US Navy submarine which sank a Japanese fishing vessel two weeks ago near Hawaii. Nine people are still missing, feared dead, according to BBC. Two civilians were at control positions aboard the Greeneville at the time of the accident, although the Navy says they did not cause it. Three navy admirals will conduct the inquiry, with a Japanese officer acting as an adviser. Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force will send Admiral Isamu Ozawa, who will be included in deliberations, but will not have a vote in the proceeding's outcome. The inquiry also will consider the question of whether the USS Greeneville undertook the surfacing drill, which led to the collision, only as a demonstration for the civilians aboard, officials said. According to Western media, the skipper of the USS Greeneville has told Navy investigators that he was aware from sonar soundings that a ship was in the vicinity before the submarine surfaced and crashed into a Japanese fishing vessel. But the captain has maintained that when he looked for the ship through a periscope, he saw nothing - and was not given any warning by a sailor whose job it was to plot the positions of nearby vessels.

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