Bodies of capsized boat victims handed over to Japan

The bodies of three people who were believed to be aboard the tour boat that sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido in April were handed over from Russia to Japan on Friday.

A Japan Coast Guard patrol boat called the Tsugaru arrived at the port of Korsakov in southern Sakhalin on Friday morning. It departed Korsakov shortly after receiving the bodies and will arrive at the port of Otaru in Hokkaido on Saturday.

Russian authorities found two of the bodies on the coast of Kunashiri Island in May. They found the third on the shore of southern Sakhalin Island in June.

Kunashiri is one of four Russian-held islands. Japan claims them.

The tour boat "Kazu I" was carrying 26 people when it sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido. Fifteen people have been confirmed dead. Eleven remain unaccounted for.

DNA tests conducted by Russian authorities determined that the bodies belong to three people who were on the tour boat that capsized.

Japan plans to conduct further tests to confirm the identities of the deceased individuals, once the bodies have been returned.