TOKYO- On Tuesday, the Hakodate District Court in Hokkaido issued the captain a suspended jail term of two years and six months, a court spokesman told AFP.
Presiding judge Takeshi Matsumoto said “the crime was malicious and the damage is expensive,” Jiji Press and other local media reported.
However, the judge noted that the skipper regretted his conduct and that most of the stolen goods have been returned, reports said.
It was unclear if the captain would also be deported.
Dozens of North Korean fishing vessels have washed up on Japan’s coast in recent years, with the number hitting a record 104 in 2017, up from 66 the previous year, according to the Japanese coastguard.
Experts say some North Korean fishermen are travelling further out to sea in order to satisfy government mandates for bigger catches.
But their old and poorly equipped vessels are prone to mechanical and other problems, including running out of fuel, and there are few ways for them to call for rescue.
Some of the boats wash up on Japanese shores with the crew on board dead, a phenomenon referred to by the local media as “ghost ships”.
© 2018 AFP