U.S. Markets closed

North Korean 'ghost ship' washes up on shores of Japan as problem grows

A new unmanned ship from North Korea washed Japanese shores this week with at least one dead body. 

The boat is the latest in a flood so-called “ghost ships” that have been drifting into Japanese waters in recent weeks from the neighboring country that's been under close scrutiny as leader Kim Jong Un pursues an aggressive nuclear growth strategy. 

The ship with Korean characters written on the bow was found on a beach in Kashiwazaki City by a passerby. 


Police report the body of a man was found on board with a badge that bared the picture of deceased North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung. A second body a short distance from the ship, but it's unclear if it's connected. 

The influx of these ghost ships onto Japanese land has been taken as a sign of growing desperation in North Korea.

 

Strict economic sanctions have been enacted by the international community in response to Pyongyang's aggressive missile testing. Those sanctions have banned seafood from North Korea from being sold in other countries, pushing fishermen further out to sea to sell their fish in international waters. 

The Japanese Coast Guard says that the sea is "subject to great changes’ and can become very dangerous for the fishermen, contributing to the problem.

While the dead bodies and ghost ships have long been a problem in Japan, the recent influx has alarmed some figures. More than 40 corpses from more than a dozen boats have been discovered in recent weeks, according to new data. Another 28 were found in November, and that suggests 2017 will hit a new high, as Japanese Coast Guard reports suggest only 66 total were found in all of 2016.