DNA test confirms 15th death in Shiretoko boat accident

Japan Coast Guard officials say DNA testing has identified a bone as that of a missing passenger of a sunken tour ship. This brings the total deaths from the April accident in northern Japan to 15.

The tour boat "Kazu I," carrying 26 people, sank off Hokkaido's Shiretoko Peninsula. Fourteen people had earlier been confirmed dead and the others had remained unaccounted for.

The piece of head bone was discovered in August on a shore near the accident site by a volunteer group searching for the missing people.

Coast Guard officials say police have informed them that DNA testing on the bone found a match with a missing passenger.

Sources close to the matter say the newly confirmed victim is a woman.

About 30 other pieces of bone found along the peninsula's coast are undergoing DNA tests.

Separately, Russian authorities have informed Japan that the remains of four people, apparently Japanese, had been found along the coasts of Kunashiri Island and Sakhalin Island. Tokyo and Moscow have agreed that a Coast Guard vessel will be dispatched to receive three of them.

Kunashiri is one of four Russian-held islands Japan claims as an inherent part of its territory. Japan says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.