Two critical after Japan navy collision

TOKYO - Two people were critically ill Wednesday after their boat collided with a Japanese naval vessel in waters between two of the country's main islands, officials said.

Television footage showed the upturned hull of a small fishing boat in the Seto Inland Sea off Hiroshima after what the coastguard said was a collision at around 8:00 am (2300 GMT Tuesday) with the Osumi, a naval transport ship. All four crew from the fishing boat were pulled from the water.

A coastguard spokesman said two of them were conscious, but the other two - including the captain - were in cardio-respiratory arrest. The term is usually used by first responders of people who have died but have not yet been certified by a doctor.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed regret for the incident and pledged his ministry's full cooperation in the coastguard's investigation into its cause. The Seto Inland Sea is a relatively busy waterway that serves a number of major ports, as well as supporting a vibrant fishery.