Check out this awesome footage of the Battle of Amami-Oshima, also known as the Spy Ship Incident in the Southwest Sea of Kyushu fought between the Japanese Coast Guard and a North Korean spy vessel.
The Dec. 22, 2001, encounter was outside of Japanese territorial waters but was inside their exclusive economic zone which extends as far as 200 miles from Japanese lands.
According to the New York Times, the “33-foot-long North Korean “Choryo 3705” was masquerading as a fishing boat” and the Japanese Coast Guard intercepted the vessel because their intentions were unclear.
The Japanese chased the Choryo for 16 hours, but they refused to back down. They fired 25 warning shots after order to halt the vessel were ignored. The confrontation lasted six hours and over 1,000 machine gun rounds were fired from both sides. The North Korean vessel was hit numerous times and eventually sank into the sea.
After the remains of the North Korean boat were recovered, it was discovered that there was a hefty arsenal aboard it when it sunk. This included two rocket launchers, 12 rockets, a recoilless rifle, two light machine guns, three automatic rifles and six grenades, an antiaircraft gun, two antiaircraft missile launchers, and a complete self-destruct system, the New York Times confirmed.
All of the crew aboard the North Korean ship perished. There were around 15 in the boat that either died from being shot or drowning.
This was the first vessel that the Japanese Armed Forces sank since WWII. Numerous Japanese boats and aircrafts followed the North Korean vessel, but it refused to stop. At one point, the boat broke out into flames from direct fire, but the crew extinguished the fire and continued on their mission, The Telegraph reported.
On May 3, 1947, Japan enacted a postwar constitution which prohibited the Japanese military from any involvement in overseas battles unless they are being attacked or under a direct threat. This incident fell under a direct threat and actions were taken.
It is clear to see in the video that the North Korean Choryo had no intentions on backing down from the Japanese and felt they were prepared to endure whatever they had to. They were headed to China and just never made it.
It was later determined that the North Korean vessel was indeed a spy boat that was likely intended on delivering illegal substances. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force was prepared to assist the North Korean Choryo but while they were awaiting sanctions to do so, the boat sank.