Mystery as more ‘ghost boats’ from N Korea wash up on Japan’s shores

07-Dec-2017 Intellasia | Express | 6:00 AM Print This Post

THREE bodies of people believed to be from North Korea have been discovered floating off the coast of Japan two days after authorities found a battered empty boat.

A Japanese fishing boat recovered a male body floating off the coast of Sakata, Yamagata, and two more bodies washed up on a nearby beach an hour and a half later, the coastguard said.

They added although the bodies were decayed, but one had a lapel pin thought to be North Korean.

Officials are investigating if the bodies were from the severely damaged boat that washed ashore on Saturday.


Winds and water currents push dozens of boats onto Japan’s northern coasts annually.

Rickety North Korean fishing boats are particularly vulnerable because they lack the sturdiness and equipment to return home.

But the alarming number over the last few weeks has prompted Japanese authorities to step up patrols.

28 of the vessels, dubbed “ghost boats”, were detected in November, up from just four in November last year.

Coastguard officials have recovered at least 18 bodies this year.

Last week, a wooden vessel was discovered by the Japan Coast Guard on the western shore of Sadothe island in the Sea of Japan is 450miles from North Korea.

Cigarettes and life jackets appeared to feature Korean lettering, suggesting the ship set sail from the hermit kingdom.

Japanese authorities are also holding 18 people from two other boats, who claim to be North Koreans and reportedly have expressed a desire to return home.

Experts have pointed to food shortages in the rogue state as a reason boats are having to sail further in an attempt to bring in a higher fishing yield.

Tensions between North Korea and Japan have risen after the latter adopted a firm stance against the Kim Jong-un dictatorship that has only strengthened since US President Donald Trump visited Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan recently increased its defences against Kim’s nuclear arsenal.



Category: Japan

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