Suspected North Koreans Found Dead in Mysterious 'Ghost Ship' On Shore of Japan


Another “Ghost Ship” has washed ashore on Japan’s coast with the remains of eight people suspected to be from North Korea.

The ship contained a badge that depicted former North Korean leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, according to Fox News.

It washed up last week in the coastal city Kanazawa, a police official told Agence France-Presse, and the coastguard found seven corpses inside the “small rooms” of the wreckage.

An eighth body was found “badly decomposed” about 50 feet away from the ship.

“It is difficult to identify the bodies as they had begun to decompose,” senior police official Hiroshi Abe said. “We spotted a tobacco box which carries some Korean letters, but we can’t confirm the boat came from North Korea.”

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The boat was reportedly shown capsized on the beach, but poor weather conditions and rough seas prevented officials from immediately searching the boat.

This is not the first supposed North Korean “ghost ship” to wash ashore in Japan.

In late November, Fox News said the discovery of a different ghost ship “could be evidence of desperate defectors trying a new route to freedom after despot Kim Jong Un has clamped down on those fleeing the Hermit Kingdom this year.”

Do you think the bodies found on the boat were North Korean defectors?

Officials discovered eight bodies inside that boat, several of which were skeletons.

The Japan Times reported the remains were so severely decomposed that it was difficult to determine whether the bodies were male or female.

A record number of North Korean fishing vessels washed up on Japan’s coast last year.

The Japanese coastguard reported 104 cases last year, according to Agence France-Presse, and most of the ships were damaged by rough seas.

Fox reported that some experts think the increase of “ghost ships” is the result of food shortage in North Korea.

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Professor emeritus of Waseda University and North Korea expert Toshimitsu Shigemura told Agence France-Presse that fishermen are traveling farther out into sea to try and meet the fishing harvest quota. The boats are old, poorly equipped and prone to mechanical problems.

“Fishermen are desperate to meet annual catch goals, which are elevated to higher levels every year,” he said.

Other experts say the boats are searching for new escape routes out of Kim Jong Un’s regime.

An estimated 1,000 people flee North Korea every year, according to Fox, and 30,000 have successfully escaped since the end of the Korean War.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith