8 Men Washed Ashore in Japan Say They're North Korean

They told police their boat broke down
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2017 1:00 AM CST
8 Men Washed Ashore in Japan Say They Are North Korean
A wooden boat is moored at a marina in Yurihonjo, Akita prefecture, northern Japan, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese police are investigating eight men found on Japan's northern coast who say they are from North Korea and washed ashore after their boat broke down. Akita prefectural police found the men late Thursday after receiving a call that suspicious men were standing around at the seaside in Yurihonjo town, the AP reports. Police say they also found a wooden boat at a nearby marina. Police say the men were in good health and spoke Korean. They identified themselves as North Koreans who were fishing before the boat broke down and washed ashore. The investigation underway will include the possibility of illegal fishing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

A week earlier, the Japanese Coast Guard rescued three North Korean men from a capsized fishing boat off Japan's northern coast. They were transferred hours later to another North Korean vessel that was to return them home. Wreckage believed to be North Korean boats regularly washes ashore in northern Japan during winter due to seasonal winds. In 2015, a wooden boat drifted ashore in another coastal town in Akita and skeletal remains of two men were found—one inside the vessel and another one nearby. Three North Korean boats with a total of 10 bodies inside also washed up on the Noto Peninsula.

(More Japan stories.)

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