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Japan on alert as boats thought to be from North Korea found

An unidentified boat is pictured in Oga, Akita prefecture, northern Japan after being washed ashore. Japan is urging local authorities and fishermen to be on the alert after several boats thought to be from North Korea were found on its northern coast.   | Photo Credit: AP

Japan is stepping up patrols and urging local authorities and fishermen to be on the alert after several boats thought to be from North Korea, some carrying dead bodies, were found on its northern coast.

“The coast guard and police have to cooperate to step up sea patrols around Japan,” the chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said on Tuesday when asked about reports that a boat carrying eight dead bodies that was found on the coast of Akita prefecture,

“The government intends to improve this to ensure we can guard against suspicious boats or people arriving in Japan,” Suga said.

He said local authorities, fishermen and residents should report if they spot any questionable boats or people.

Last week, police rescued eight people thought to be North Korean fishermen who ended up stranded along with their squid catch.

It is unclear if the people aboard the several dozen North Korean boats that drift near Japanese shores each year are intending to defect or simply unable to make their way back aboard their unseaworthy wooden boats.

The boat found Monday appeared to have no flag or other markings and was reported to be “nationality unclear.” But the crude vessel with its very low gunwale is similar to other poorly equipped boats often seen operating from North Korea.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 9:16:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/japan-on-alert-as-boats-thought-to-be-from-north-korea-found/article21039486.ece

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