Bodies Wash Up On Board Suspected North Korean Shipwreck On Japanese Coast
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The wooden boat is originally believed to have hailed from North Korea. However, the bodies were 'partially skeletonized', suggesting they may have been at sea for a long time.
According to Japanese broadcaster HNK, a police officer found the bow of the boat on Friday after it washed ashore on the coast of Sado Island in the Sea of Japan.
Coast Guard officers suspect the shipwreck was part of a North Korean boat, with Korean lettering painted in red on the side of the bow - which measures 7.6m long, 4.3m wide and 2m high.
They conducted a search after gaining access on Saturday morning, finding seven partially skeletonized bodies inside.
Local police could not confirm whether or not the two heads belonged to the corpses on board.
Generally, they are completely empty or contain human remains.
There are several theories behind such mysterious discoveries, with some people speculating that crew are spies from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's regime.
However, others suggest it could be related to poverty in North Korea, which leads to people fishing further from home.
The Sea Of Japan, which separates North Korea from Japan, is approximately 1,000km wide, but bad conditions have made venturing further out incredibly treacherous.
Back in 2017 - shortly before another, similar incident involving a suspected North Korean shipwreck - Marcus Noland, an analyst at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told CNN that the plight of the ships' crews are a 'reflection of the growing desperation in the North Korean economy'.
He said that as a result of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile testing ban - which prohibits the sale of North Korean seafood to other countries - fishermen are offloading their catches on the black market in order to earn money.
Noland explained: "They're having to rendezvous with foreign vessels in international waters to sell their catches on the high sea so it can be relabeled (as from Japan or South Korea)."