Home / World / More ghost ships from North Korea wash themselves off the coast of Japan due to food shortages and sanctions, analysts say

More ghost ships from North Korea wash themselves off the coast of Japan due to food shortages and sanctions, analysts say



The rise of North Korean "ghost ships" that swept the coast of Japan in recent weeks, including some boats full of skeletal remains ̵

1; is due to the severe shortage of food of the Hermit Kingdom and the result of increasing sanctions against Kim Jong Un, sad analysts on Tuesday.

Three other bodies, allegedly from North Korea, were recovered off the coast of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture on Monday, two days after an empty ship in ruins was dragged ashore, Japan's coast guard said. . The discovery is just one of 28 ships that arrived on the Japanese coast off North Korea this year, about four more compared to last year.

In general, only empty boats are found. But at least 18 bodies have been discovered this year. At the end of November, a 22-foot wooden boat containing eight bodies was found, described as "skeletonized" because they were so decomposed.

  A wooden boat is left after being dragged ashore in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture, northern Japan on Monday, December 4, 2017. The coast guard said that a Japanese fishing boat picked up a body of a man that floated off the coast of Sakata in the prefecture and two more bodies were thrown onto a nearby beach an hour and a half later. Twenty-eight of the ships, dubbed "ghost ships," were detected in November, compared to only four in November last year. (Kyodo News via AP)

A partially destroyed ship appeared along the Japanese coast earlier this week.

(Kyodo News)

The decrepit state of "ghost ships" and bodies has made it difficult for authorities to decipher how deadly seafarers died and ended up in Japanese waters. Pyon Jinil, an observer and writer from North Korea, told AFP that North Koreans are starving due to the recent economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations in response to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

"Each North Korean person now receives only 300 grams of food per day," said Pyon. "To cover the shortage of staple foods like rice and corn, they want to buy from China, but they do not have strong foreign currency to buy food either."

Toshimitsu Shigemura, professor emeritus of the University of Waseda and North The Korean expert also pointed out that the desperation to comply with fishing quotas has pushed fishermen to travel further. Kim Jong Un is trying to make North Korea self-sufficient in food, but its protein sources continue to fall. health problems caused by the lack of a varied and balanced diet.

  A wooden boat, which landed with eight partially skeletal bodies and was found by the Coast Guard of Japan, is seen in Oga, Akita Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on November 27, 2017 Kyodo compulsory credit / through REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. COMPULSORY CREDIT. JAPAN THERE ARE NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. - RC1916E90BA0

Eight wer skeletal remains Found in a boat, one of the first horrifying discoveries.

(Kyodo via Reuters)

"Fishermen are desperate to meet their annual catch targets, which rise to higher levels every year," said Shigemura.

Pyon added: "Since then, fishermen have been frantically trying to meet [annual] catch objectives, but what is different this year is that they travel to distant waters on their fragile vessels."

Pyon said that Kim Jong Un sold part of North Korea's fishing rights in the Yellow Sea to China to pump more foreign currency into the regime's economy. In turn, the despot ordered the fishermen "to establish a fishing base in the Sea of ​​Japan."

  ARCHIVE - In this archive photo of November 29, 2017, a wooden boat is seen in front of the city of Matsumae Hokkaido, in northern Japan. Twenty-eight of the ships, called "sailing ships," were detected in November, compared to just four in November last year. In general, only ships or fragments reach the coast. It is very rare for the survivors to be rescued and taken ashore by the Japanese. (Iori Sa gisawa / Kyodo News via AP, archive)

In November 2017, 28 vessels were detected, compared with only four in November 2016.

(Kyodo News)

But the measure could also be a violation of Japan's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone west of the northern shores of Japan, an area known to be a rich fishing area.

But the North Korean ships barely stand the rough seas during their long journeys and often crumble before reaching Japan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a digital producer of breaking news for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam


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