AKITA (TR) – Authorities in Akita and Aomori prefectures reported finding five bodies believed to belong to North Korean nationals on the coast of the Sea of Japan on Thursday. The discoveries are a continuation of what has become an intensifying trend.
At just before 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, a person living in the Noishi area of Oga City reported the discovery of partially skeletal remains on the shore to police, reports NHK (Dec. 8). Officers arriving at the scene found another body about 300 meters away. Both bodies belong to men, police said.
Earlier that morning, a 7-meter-long wooden boat was found washed ashore about 10 kilometers to the south at the Iriai Fishing Harbor. Another boat, measuring 15 meters in length, was found beached in the town of Mitane, about 5 kilometers north, later in the day. The exterior of both vessels contained hangul characters, which is the script of the Korean language, according to police.
Water currents and winds regularly direct disabled boats from North Korea toward the northern coasts of Japan. Recently, the discovery of boats and bodies on shorelines has been increasing. In November, authorities reported finding 28 bodies aboard vessels or on shores, a significant increase over the four corpses found in the same month last year.
Although the identities of the persons whose bodies were found on Thursday are not known, it is speculated that they are also from North Korea.