Coast Guard officials drank on patrol ship

NHK has learned that several officials of the Japan Coast Guard violated its rules by drinking alcohol on a patrol ship, and that one of them acted violently. The Coast Guard punished all involved and the ship's captain.

The incident occurred on a ship dispatched to Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Japan Sea off the Noto Peninsula in central Japan. North Korean squid fishing boats have conducted illegal operations in the area.

Sources say that last June, about seven officials on the ship drank while off-duty, and one committed assault.

Drinking alcohol on Coast Guard patrol ships is banned even after hours of duty, unless special permission is given by the captain.

The Coast Guard suspended the official who acted violently from duty for 12 months, and strictly warned the others and the captain. The suspended official resigned.

The Coast Guard says it's truly sorry for the incident and will take thorough educational steps to prevent a recurrence.