Dead male found in boat near Japan was wearing Korean boots

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2012, 6:47am


A wooden boat containing a dead male wearing Korean boots was found in waters near Japan yesterday, three days after another vessel with five corpses was discovered in the same area, the coastguard said.

The capsized boat was floating yesterday off Sado Island, which lies in the Sea of Japan, a stretch of water known as the East Sea by Koreans, a coastguard official said.

"A male body was found inside. We also found boots with a manufacturer's tag with what appears to be Korean words," he said.

The boat was about 8.5 metres long and had numbers printed on its sides, he said. The discovery came after a similar boat with five rotting bodies was found in the same area on Wednesday.

It prompted speculation that they might be North Korean fishermen who had weather or technical troubles and drifted out to sea.

In January, Japan's coastguard found a boat with three North Koreans and another man, who had died of hypothermia. They told officials their boat had developed engine trouble during a fishing trip and they had unintentionally drifted. The trio were later repatriated.

Nine North Koreans - three men, three women and three children - were picked up by Japan's coastguard in September last year after spending five days at sea. They then travelled to South Korea to settle there.