A 'ghost ship' containing the skeletons of 8 people washed up in Japan -- and authorities think it's from North Korea

Kyodo via ReutersA wooden boat, which drifted ashore with eight partially skeletal bodies at Oga, Japan.
  • A boat containing remains of eight bodies has appeared in western Japan.
  • The Japan Coast Guard thinks it’s from North Korea.
  • Skeletons and missing fishermen have appeared in western Japan recently.

A wooden boat containing eight partially skeletal bodies has mysteriously washed up in Japan. While officials are still investigating the vessel’s mysterious appearance, they believe it came from North Korea.

The 23-foot vessel was discovered in Oga, a coastal city in the country’s northwestern Akita prefecture on Sunday morning,according to the BBC.

The “ghost ship” – the term for vessels discovered with no living crew – was also missing a rotor blade and navigational devices.

The Japan Coast Guard believes the unidentified ship may have come from North Korea, which located some 500 miles away across the Sea of Japan, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

Some of the bodies in the boat had been reduced to bone, it added.

Japan’s western coast has been the site of multiple macabre discoveries recently.

Around the same time the eight bodies were found, the Japan Coast Guard also found partial skeletons of two men on the Japanese island of Sado, some 250 miles from Akita.

Authorities say they found North Korean cigarettes and life jackets with Korean lettering near the bodies, Reuters reported.

Japan ghost ship skitchGoogle Maps/Business InsiderMap showing the proximity between Akita prefecture, Sado, and North Korea.

Last week, Japanese police also found eight men who claimed to be North Korean fishermen in Yurihonjo, a nearby city in Akita prefecture, 50 miles from Oga.

However, the men are believed to have showed up because their vessel ran into trouble, not because they were defecting from the Kim Jong Un regime.

The recent spate of boating accidents near the Sea of Japan is likely due to bad weather conditions around the area during this time of year, Reuters reported. North Koreans may also have been forced to venture out into the choppy seas to make up for the country’s food shortages.

“North Korea pushes so hard for its people to gather more fish so that they can make up their food shortages,” Seo Yu Suk, a research manager of Seoul’s North Korean Studies Institution, told Reuters.

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