Five bodies have been found in the toppled Chinese fishing vessel after it collided with a tanker of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region early Thursday, according to the Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka.
Rescue work for the other seven missing crew members is still under way, said the consulate-general on Friday.
The accident occurred on early Thursday in international waters some 400 km north of the Oki Islands in western Japan.
Three patrol vessels of the Japan Coast Guard have begun work since early Friday with frogmen sent to search for the missing people, said the consulate-general.
The consulate-general has been keeping close contact with the Japanese side, it said.