Russian DNA Tests Show Kunashiri Bodies Likely Sunken Boat Victims
Sapporo, June 24 (Jiji Press)--Russian authorities have identified through DNA profiling two bodies found around Kunashiri Island in May as those of people on a tour boat that sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido on April 23, it was learned on Friday.
The Japan Coast Guard's first regional headquarters has been notified by the Russian side of the results of the DNA tests, coast guard officials said.
According to informed sources, the DNA types of the corpses matched those of Akira Soyama, a 27-year-old crew member of the Kazu I boat, from the city of Chofu, Tokyo, and a woman from the city of Kitami, Hokkaido.
Kunashiri Island is one of the four Moscow-held islands at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and Russia.
Japanese authorities will also conduct DNA tests on the bodies once they are handed over by Russia. Tokyo is rushing efforts through diplomatic routes to realize a swift handover.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]