North Korean boat that brought eight fishermen to Akita vanishes

Gwen Vasquez
November 26, 2017

The discovery on Saturday marks the second time this month that parts of a wooden boat suspected to be from North Korea have washed up on the shores of Sado island, the official said.

Japanese police have said they are investigating men discovered on Japan's northern coast who claim they are North Korean.

This discovery comes on the heels of an incident involving eight North Korean men after they were found Thursday evening in Yurihonjo, Japan, by local law enforcement in the Akita region.

Police said the men were in good health and spoke Korean.

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Police took them into protective custody, where they were being questioned with the help of interpreters.

The cause of the death is still unknown, the official said. They identified themselves as North Koreans who were fishing before the boat broke down and washed ashore.

Defections by boat to Japan are not common given the distance, though it has happened before - in 2011, nine North Koreans tried to sail to South Korea but ended up across the sea in Japan.

A week earlier, the Japanese Coast Guard rescued three North Korean men from a capsized fishing boat off Japan's northern coast. "Fifteen crew members were on the boat". Japan has no diplomatic relations with North Korea. Japanese Coast Guard ship is seen during their annual joint anti-piracy exercise with their Philippine counterparts in the waters off Manila Bay on July 13, 2016.

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