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Eight bodies found as ‘North Korean’ boat washes up in Japan

AFP | Tokyo |

Eight bodies have been recovered from a wrecked boat that washed ashore in central Japan, authorities said on Tuesday, suspecting the vessel is the latest in a series of North Korean “ghost ships.”

Coastguard rescuers found the corpses of seven men inside the wreckage of the boat that washed up in Kanazawa, central Japan, last week, senior police official Hiroshi Abe told AFP.

The badly decomposed remains of another man were discovered around 15 metres (50 feet) from the boat, added Abe.

“It is difficult to identify the bodies as they had begun to decompose,” he said, noting that rough seas had prevented officials from investigating the boat thoroughly.

“We spotted a tobacco box which carries some Korean letters, but we can’t confirm the boat came from North Korea,” he said.

However, coastguard officials believe it is the latest North Korean fishing vessel to wash up on the coast, following a record number of such cases last year.

Television footage showed the wreckage of the flat- bottomed vessel capsized on the beach.