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Mysterious Boats Full of Corpses Keep Washing Up in Japan

Nearly 100 dilapidated wooden boats have washed up in northern Japan this year. Sometimes they’re empty, other times they carry corpses, or skeletons, earning them the eerie title of “ghost ships”. And it’s thought they’re coming from North Korea.

The influx of these vessels into Japan’s waters has become something of a seasonal occurrence, as autumn and winter winds push dozens of the boats toward the archipelago from the west. This time last year, VICE News reported that 44 ghost ships had washed up around Japan over the course of 2017. In 2016, that number was 66.

This year, Yomiuri Shimbun is reporting that a record number of 89 vessels, either wrecked or deserted, have been identified near Japanese shores, according to the Tokyo coast guard. Many have been in the vicinity of the Hokkaido region to the north, and almost all of them on the country’s western flank facing the Korean Peninsula. Of those 89 vessels, five were found to contain a total of 12 dead bodies.


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