OGA, Akita -- Eight corpses were discovered on Nov. 27 on a wooden boat that washed ashore here the previous day, it has been learned.
The bodies -- some of which were skeletonized -- were discovered by Akita Prefectural Police and the Japan Coast Guard at Miyazawa Beach Resort. Although the nationalities of the corpses are unknown, police and other authorities are carefully looking into the possibility that the boat originally came from North Korea.
On Nov. 23, a squid fishing boat that had carried eight men washed ashore in the same prefecture, in the city of Yurihonjo. The men, who are currently being held at Yurihonjo Police Station, are reported to have said they had come from North Korea and wanted to return. That boat is now missing, assumed to have drifted out to sea, and is thought to be different from the wooden boat that arrived on Nov. 26.
According to the Japan Coast Guard, the wooden boat washed ashore at around 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 26, prompting a local resident who spotted the vessel to call the police. The boat is said to be 7 to 8 meters long, possesses no structures such as a wheelhouse, and has what appears to be numbers written on its hull.
Although the boat was discovered on Nov. 26, the authorities delayed their inspection until the morning of Nov. 27 due to stormy weather.