Japanese patrol ships visit Sakhalin

For the first time in history two patrol ships of the Japanese Department of Security at Sea - Rebun and Shirakami - arrived on Tuesday in Sakhalin on an official visit.

As RIA Novosti was told in the press centre of the Pacific regional department of the Russian Federal Frontier Service, the programme of this visit to the port of Korsakov provides for a big cultural programme and also for joint sea exercises to coordinate actions related to arresting vessels trespassing borders and rescuing people in distress.

Two years ago, the command of the Russian Federal Frontier Service and that of the Japanese Department for Security at Sea signed in Moscow a bilateral agreement on combating smuggling, poaching, illegal drug trafficking and on rendering aid to ships in distress.

Since then, as both sides believe, the number of professional contacts between the Russian and Japanese coast guards have increased drastically.

This summer, the authorities concerned have started developing a transparent scheme for exporting Russian fish catches to the Japanese market. Both sides have already agreed to establish a Russo-Japanese Marine Business Centre in the city of Kushiro on the Hokkaido Island.

The Centre will coordinate the actions of the Russian and Japanese sides in the sphere of fishing and selling the catches. The Centre is expected to help Sakhalin fish producers get access to the wholesale markets of Japan.

The first serious blow on smuggling fish catches to Japan was dealt this spring when Russian and Japanese customs officers established a round-the-clock computer communication and a real-time teamwork.

Now, before giving a Russian ship the permission to unload the catch, the Japanese customs officers ask their Sakhalin colleagues whether the documents which the captain shows them are authentic.

This bilateral control has made it possible to considerably cut the flow of smuggled Russian fish catches to Japan.

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