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. 

SEE ALSO: Boats full of dead people from North Korea keep showing up in Japan — here's why

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.

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North Korean ghost ships wash ashore in Japan
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North Korean ghost ships wash ashore in Japan
The wreckage of a boat is pictured along a sea wall in the city of Yurihonjo, Akita prefecture on November 24, 2017. A group of eight fishermen claiming to be from North Korea washed up in northern Japan after drifting there when their wooden vessel developed problems, authorities said on November 24. / AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS / - / Japan OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
A wooden boat is seen in front of a breakwater in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Japan November 24, 2017. Kyodo reported the boat washed ashore carrying eight men claiming to be from North Korea. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A wooden boat, which according to a police official carried eight men who said they were from North Korea and appear to be fishermen whose vessel ran into trouble, is seen near a breakwater in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Japan, November 24, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A wooden boat, which according to a police official carried eight men who said they were from North Korea and appear to be fishermen whose vessel ran into trouble, is seen near a breakwater in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Japan November 24, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT.
A wooden boat, which according to a police official carried eight men who said they were from North Korea and appear to be fishermen whose vessel ran into trouble, is seen near a breakwater in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Japan November 24, 2017. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY.
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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. 

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