This is rather timely…
In the Yokohama Bay Area there is a Japan Coast Guard Museum. The main attraction is a North Korean Spy Boat which was sunk December 22, 2001 by the Japan Coast Guard near Kyusyu.
The recovered spy boat and it’s contents are really the only items on display in the museum. You can get up close and personal to examine the bullet holes, and view gear the spies had on board such as machine guns and rocket launchers. Video footage recorded by the crew of the coast guard during the incident is also on display.
Similar video is also available of the Korean spy boat encounter on YouTube.
The museum is free of charge, and easily accessible from Minato Mirai in Yokohama, so if you are in the area it’s worth a visit.
A quick breakdown of the encounter as it happened follows.
A suspicious unknown ship was discovered south west of Kyusyu at 1:10 AM on December 12th 2001. Orders were sent for a patrol boat and air support from the Japanese coast guard to investigate.
At 6:20 AM the coast guard patrol boat arrived on the scene and began to follow the unknown ship. The boat appeared to be a fishing boat, however there was no smoke coming from the chimney, and other suspicious issues regarding the boats behavior tipped the coast guard off that it may be a spy boat.
At 13:12 the coast guard gave repeated orders in several languages (I remember Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English from the video tape in the museum) for the unknown vessel to halt and identify itself. The commands were ignored, and the coast guard proceeded to fire warning shots into the air, and into the surface of the water near the boat. These warnings were also ignored.
Next, the coast guard proceeded according to protocol and fired controlled shots at the spy boat. These initial shots are not meant to disable the boat or injure any crew. Therefore the shots were aimed at the tail, and head of the boat, places where crew and vital equipment are not likely to be located. Also, before firing, a verbal warning including the intent to shoot, and the location the shots would be aimed was given, and ample time allowed for the enemy boats crew to get out of harms way, or surrender if they should desire.
Once the shots commenced, the crew of the spy boat began waving what appeared to be a red Chinese flag, and tried to give the appearance of a Chinese boat (I don’t know how one can “give the appearance of a Chinese boat…” Just translating from the museum hand out!). Also, during this time some items, likely evidence of the spy boats intent, were thrown off the back of the boat.
All of this continued until 22:09. Then the Japanese Coast Guard boat attempted to maneuver to better cut off the spy boats retreat, and the spy boat suddenly opened fire with a small automatic weapon.
After receiving damaging fire from the spy boat, the Japanese boat returned fire with intent to incapacitate the enemy vessel. Within 3 minutes of opening fire, the spy boat suffered a large explosion, from what appeared to be a self-destruct device, and began sinking rapidly.
The self-destruct control box.
Items from the North Korean spy boat
Pin of our Dear Leader
Peanut Candy (spies gotta eat!)
Note it’s produce at Ryongsong factory in Pyongyang Korea. Authentic!
The museum is free of charge. It is closed on Mondays. If you are in the Yokohama area it’s worth a visit!
Here is a Japanese website with more pictures of items which were on the boat.