A tour boat with 26 people on board including two children has gone missing after it reportedly sank, Japan’scoastguard said.
Six patrol boats and four aircraft were sent to the area, off the northern island of Hokkaido, to search for any survivors, but after seven hours none have been found.
The coastguard received an emergency distress call from the Kazu 1 boat at around 1.15pm saying that its bow had been flooded and was beginning to sink and tilt.
Despite launching a major search, by 5.30pm the coastguard said it had not found any of those on board nor the boat itself.
It was last known to have been travelling off the western coast of Shiretoko peninsula.
The emergency services have not had any communication from the vessel since.
Two children and two crew members made up part of the group of 26 on board the Kazu 1.
Local media are reporting that fishing boats had been returned to port before 12pm as a result of bad weather.
Meanwhile, broadcaster NHK said there was a warning for high waves of up to 9ft.