Rescue personnel have been looking for survivors ever since the Jin Tian went down.
The ship’s Hong Kong-flagged ship departed Port Klang in Malaysia last month.
It was supposed to land in South Korea on Wednesday.
Chinese authorities report that a cargo ship sank in Japanese waters, killing eight persons, several of them were Chinese nationals.
Rescue personnel have been looking for survivors ever since the Jin Tian went down on Tuesday night.
The search is being conducted with the assistance of numerous ships and planes from the coast guards and armed forces of Japan, South Korea, and private ships.
According to reports, the five persons who were saved are doing well.
An emergency signal was issued by the cargo ship Jin Tian, which had a crew of 22, when it was about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of the isolated and deserted Danjo Islands in far-southwest Japan, close to the maritime border with South Korea.
According to Lu Guijun, the general consul of China in the Japanese city of Fukuoka, six of the deceased were Chinese nationals.
“We express our deepest condolences to the unfortunate victims,” Mr. Lu told Chinese state broadcaster.
Although Mr. Lu’s death toll has not yet been confirmed by Japanese officials, they have stated that nine persons are still missing. As of yet, no explanation for the ship’s sinking has been provided.
The Hong Kong-flagged ship departed Port Klang in Malaysia last month, according to MarineTraffic. On Wednesday, it was supposed to touch down in Incheon, South Korea.
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