Japanese news reports say three sailors taken hostage in the Malacca Strait last week have been released.

The two Japanese and a Filipino were released Monday after pirates seized their vessel March 14 in the Strait, a busy shipping lane often plagued by armed bandits.

Japanese officials said last week that about 15 pirates had attacked the tugboat known as the "Idaten" and kidnapped three crew members. The remaining 11 crew members arrived safely on the Malaysian island of Penang.

Some information provided by Reuters and AP.