This site uses cookies. By accepting cookies you can optimise your browsing experience. Read more.
08:12

Japan: North Korean 'ghost ships' full of corpses keep washing ashore in Japan

Japan, Oga
January 29, 2018 at 16:39 GMT +00:00 · Published

A small number of wooden boats containing unidentified deceased sailors, assumed to be North Korean fishermen, have often been found washed up on the shores of Oga, a city in Akita Prefecture which juts out into the sea.This year, however, has seen a dramatic rise in the number of dead bodies found aboard wooden boats washed up on the shores of Japan. According to the Japanese Coast Guard, 35 corpses have washed up since December 28, with 103 wooden boats drifting onto Japanese shores or discovered in its territorial waters. Thirteen of the dead bodies have remained unidentified.On November 26, eight corpses, some of which were partly skeletal, were discovered on a wooden boat in Oga, with two more skeletal remains found washed ashore on December 7, when temperatures remained below freezing. North Korean fisherman have also been found alive aboard their vessels. Oga's authorities have requested that the Tosenji temple temporarily accept the remains of the unidentified dead sailors, whose ashes have been kept in urns, alongside some DNA samples, in case North Korea or family members ever need to identify the deceased.The Buddhist Priest in charge of the Tosenji temple, Ryosen Kojima, keeps the blank urns in the temple following the cremation of the bodies by local authorities. Kojima chants funeral sutras for the deceased in the temple's main hall every day after his father began the practice of offering prayers for the unidentified dead in 1960.After one year has passed, the remains are buried at a grave for the unknown in Oga overlooking the Sea of Japan.As to why the number of dead fishermen has risen, a number of theories abound. Some Japanese media outlets suggest that Western sanctions against North Korea have forced the nation's fishemen to work harder to increase food supplies. As a result, goes the theory, they are forced to go further distances out to sea in dangerous conditions, as well as to use old equipment and boats. Others have pointed to reported booming North Korean fish exports to neighbouring China, a trade which may have induced fishermen to take greater risks to increase their catch.

08:12
No Account? Sign up!
Description

A small number of wooden boats containing unidentified deceased sailors, assumed to be North Korean fishermen, have often been found washed up on the shores of Oga, a city in Akita Prefecture which juts out into the sea.This year, however, has seen a dramatic rise in the number of dead bodies found aboard wooden boats washed up on the shores of Japan. According to the Japanese Coast Guard, 35 corpses have washed up since December 28, with 103 wooden boats drifting onto Japanese shores or discovered in its territorial waters. Thirteen of the dead bodies have remained unidentified.On November 26, eight corpses, some of which were partly skeletal, were discovered on a wooden boat in Oga, with two more skeletal remains found washed ashore on December 7, when temperatures remained below freezing. North Korean fisherman have also been found alive aboard their vessels. Oga's authorities have requested that the Tosenji temple temporarily accept the remains of the unidentified dead sailors, whose ashes have been kept in urns, alongside some DNA samples, in case North Korea or family members ever need to identify the deceased.The Buddhist Priest in charge of the Tosenji temple, Ryosen Kojima, keeps the blank urns in the temple following the cremation of the bodies by local authorities. Kojima chants funeral sutras for the deceased in the temple's main hall every day after his father began the practice of offering prayers for the unidentified dead in 1960.After one year has passed, the remains are buried at a grave for the unknown in Oga overlooking the Sea of Japan.As to why the number of dead fishermen has risen, a number of theories abound. Some Japanese media outlets suggest that Western sanctions against North Korea have forced the nation's fishemen to work harder to increase food supplies. As a result, goes the theory, they are forced to go further distances out to sea in dangerous conditions, as well as to use old equipment and boats. Others have pointed to reported booming North Korean fish exports to neighbouring China, a trade which may have induced fishermen to take greater risks to increase their catch.

Video Feed
Providing you with the best in breaking news, politics, science, sports, tech, viral and entertainment content
All latest videos
03:09
'Iron hand' - Chinese man makes own artificial limbs after losing arms in accident
January 20 at 14:05 GMT +00:00
01:06
Iran: Iranian, Venezuelan foreign ministers hold bilateral talks in Tehran
January 20 at 13:22 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
00:14
Australia: Massive dust storm sweeps across New South Wales
January 20 at 12:38 GMT +00:00
02:02
Switzerland: Davos beefs up security ahead of World Economic Forum
January 20 at 12:30 GMT +00:00
01:19
Spain: Ex-Catalan police chief arrives in court for trial over rebellion charges
January 20 at 12:27 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
00:05
Germany: Macron meets LNA's Khalifa Haftar on sidelines of Berlin conference
January 20 at 12:20 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
00:49
Russia: Putin briefs Security Council on Libya peace conference results
January 20 at 12:16 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
02:18
UK: Boris Johnson promises stricter immigration changes
January 20 at 12:10 GMT +00:00
00:54
Iran: Asian Football Confederation to review ban on Iran hosting intl. matches
January 20 at 11:32 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
00:33
Australia: Adorable baby koala driven to safety from tragic inferno
January 20 at 10:14 GMT +00:00
Pool for subscribers only
01:47
Australia: Somersby Zoo flooded after torrential rainfall hits NSW
January 20 at 09:55 GMT +00:00
02:11
Argentina: Evo Morales announces candidates for Bolivian elections
January 20 at 09:43 GMT +00:00
All latest videos