By Sizuru (日本語: 投稿者が撮影) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
A small wooden ship that is containing eight bodies which had been partially reduced to skeletons has been washed up on a beach in the Sea of Japan.
The “ghost ship” was discovered by the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) in the northern Akita Prefecture, days after two similarly partly decomposed bodies were discovered on the island of Sado.
Both the JCG and the police believe that the two men that have been discovered may have been from North Korea, as what seemed to be North Korean life jackets and cigarettes with Korean lettering were located nearby.
Authorities are currently working to establish where the bodies that were found over the last week came from.
Last week, police discovered eight fishermen who said that they were from North Korea on the same western shore.
The research manager of North Korean Studies Institution in Seoul, Seo Yu-suk, said that the food shortages of North Korea could be behind what is possibly a series of accidents involving ships from North Korea.
He stated: “North Korea pushes so hard for its people to gather more fish so that they can make up their food shortages.”
A professor at Japan’s Tokai University, Yoshihiko Yamada, said that fishermen that are operating in the Sea of Japan have just entered a season of hostile weather conditions.
He stated: “During the summer, the Sea of Japan is quite calm. But it starts to get choppy when November comes. It gets dangerous when northwesterly winds start to blow.”
The JCG said that a total of 43 wooden ships that are believed to have originated from the Korean peninsula have been washed up on Japanese shores or were seen to be drifting off the coast of Japan during the period between January to the 22nd of November this year, compared with the 66 ships for the whole of 2016.