A boat that washed up in Japan earlier this week was carrying eight people who died at sea, believed to be possible North Korean defectors, according to Fox News.
The boat was discovered days after a possible North Korean man and pieces of another wrecked ship were found on a Japanese island.
Officials are saying the recent finds are an indication of the desperate situation within the walls of the North.
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A Japanese resident spotted the 22-foot wooden boat Friday floating in Miyazawa Beach in Oga, Akita Prefecture, along the Sea of Japan, Japan Times reported. Officials searched the vessel Sunday and Monday and found several of the remains were “skeletonized,” indicating a long period had elapsed before it washed ashore. The remains were so severely decomposed it was hard to decipher if they were men or women. The 68-year-old woman who initially spotted the boat told Kyodo News she saw rescue workers carrying skeletal remains using stretchers.
Japanese officials were initially puzzled by the boat, considering it gave no indication as to its origins. The Coast Guard has said that it likely came from North Korea.
Two other boats carrying North Koreans have docked in Japan in the last month alone. Nine bodies have been discovered and three boats were collected from the waters surrounding the country. Numbers are lower this year, however, than in years past—11 in 2016 and 27 in 2015.