Suga vows to work for release of Russia-held crew

Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has vowed to work for the release of a fishing boat and its crew who are being held by Russia.

That's according to Upper House lawmaker Suzuki Muneo who met Suga earlier on Thursday. The Hokkaido-based opposition lawmaker asked Suga to make the utmost efforts to bring back the 14 crewmembers.

The trawler was seized by Russia's border guard authorities in the Far East province of Sakhalin last Friday off the coast of Wakkanai City, northern Hokkaido.

The Russian authorities allege that the boat operated within Russia's exclusive economic zone.

However, officials in Tokyo lodged a protest with their Russian counterparts, saying they have confirmed that the boat had been operating within Japan's EEZ.

Suzuki spoke to reporters after meeting the prime minister.

He quoted Suga as saying that Japan needs to take resolute action on a humanitarian basis, and that he will do his best for the crewmembers' families who are worried about the safety of their loved ones.