HOKKAIDO (TR) – Japan Coast Guard officials believe two unmanned wooden boats found along the Tsugaru Strait in the southern part of Hokkaido Prefecture earlier this week possibly originated from North Korea, reports Nippon News Network (Oct. 30).
At around 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday, a bus driver in a vehicle reported seeing one of the vessels — measuring 10 meters in length — along the shore of the town of Matsumaecho. The day before, a similar vessel was found on the coast of the adjoining town of Fukushima.
According to the officials, no persons were found in the vicinity of either vessel. As well, hangul writing, which is the script of the Korean language, was found on unspecified locations on both vessels.
The sizes and shapes of the vessels were similar to other crafts that have washed ashore from North Korea in the past, the officials said.
Water currents and winds regularly send ships whose engines have become disabled to the northern coasts of Japan.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, a record 104 wooden vessels likely from North Korea washed shore in northern Japan last year. In 2016, the figure was 38.