The decomposing remains of ten people have been found in wrecked ships along Japan’s coast, just opposite North Korea.
Eight bodies were found in a wooden boat that washed ashore in Oga, Akita Prefecture, the Japanese Coast Guard revealed Monday. Two more bodies were found amid wreckage in Sado, Niigata Prefecture. In the latter vessel, authorities found North Korean tobacco and life jackets with Korean writing, but the coast guard has yet to find anything definitive linking the first craft to the rogue regime.
The latest discoveries come just days after a North Korean fishing ship with a crew of eight washed ashore in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture. The men, who identified themselves as North Koreans, said that their ship experienced mechanical problems. This incident was preceded by another one week prior in which a North Korean fishing vessel capsized in the East Sea/Sea of Japan. The Japanese Coast Guard was only able to rescue three of the 12-member crew.
Excluding the most recent finds, nine bodies have been found off Japanese coastline this year. Eleven were found last year, and 27 were found the year before that. All are suspected North Korean citizens. The Japanese often refer to the boats filled with dead bodies that drift off the coast as “ghost ships,” according to Channel News Asia.
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North Korea often sends its squid fishermen into Japanese waters to fish illegally. Since this past summer, Japan has warned around 2,000 North Korean ships to leave the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). North Koreans often venture far out to sea to satisfy Pyongyang’s demands for big catches, but their ships have a tendency to break down. While some die, the Japanese Coast Guard has also found survivors, which are typically returned home.
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