Authorities in Japan are investigating a wave of “ghost ships” that continually show up on their coast.
The ships, which alone are mysterious enough, contain decomposed bodies. So far, 22 corpses have been discovered in a total of 12 ships. At the time the bodies were found, they were in an advanced state of decomposition. One of the corpses was even “partially skeletonized.”
Reports state that the ships started showing up about two months ago.
Evidence seems to point to the vessels being North Korean in origin. All of the boats were “primitive” and of wooden construction. Writing that read “Korean People’s Army” was found on a boat discovered off of Japan’s west coast on Nov. 20.
In addition, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported a scrap of cloth found on one of the boats appears to be from a North Korean flag.
It’s unknown whether the people inside the boats were killed first and then the ships were set adrift, or whether they died while at sea. However, maritime expert Yoshihiko Yamada told CNN he believed that the bodies were of North Korean defectors who simply couldn’t make it to their intended destination.
John Nilsson-Wright, head of the Chatham House policy institute’s Asia Program, agreed that the ships are probably from North Korea. He said, “What we do know is that for those people living outside of (North Korean capital) Pyongyang … life remains extraordinarily hard, and it may be an economic necessity as much as a desire for political freedom (that is) encouraging some people in the North to try and leave the country.”
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