Japanese coast guard and police have discovered seven decomposed human remains in a boat that was reportedly washed up on an island. Five of the bodies were identified as men while the other two couldn't be identified as they were badly damaged. The fishing boat is suspected to be from North Korea, a coast guard official said. The decomposed bodies were found in a broken vessel on the shore of Sado island, which is around 900 kilometres from North Korea through the sea. Korean alphabets and numbers were printed on the boat which helped authorities identify the country as there was nothing to show their nationality.
According to local media, Japanese police and coast guard are investigating the matter as to whether the main motive of deceased North Koreans was fishing or getting into Japan illegally. Sor far, at least 156 North Korean vessels have been washed up on Japanese shore this year. Experts believe that while some North Koreans died due to their poor quality boats and mechanics, others say that they travel far out to sea in order to satisfy government mandates for bigger catches. The boats that are washed up on Japanese shore are called "ghosts ships" as they carry dead crew members along with it.
Coast guards discovered the bodies on Saturday, December 28 at around 9:30am. A police officer first spotted the vessel but couldn't enter due to bad weather. In October, 60 Noth Koreans were rescued by the Japanese Navy in the Sea of Japan after the boat collided with Japanese patrol vessel. Last year, 10 North Koreans were deported after they were rescued from a tiny wooden vessel while trying to sneak into Japan illegally. This is the second time since last month that a boat has been washed up on the shore of Sado island.
Japan and North Korea are currently not enjoying great diplomatic ties and hence it could be difficult in identifying dead bodies and will affect the investigation process further. The diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea soured after the latter decided to test a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.