Japanese media say a man who turned up in a western city over the weekend says he is North Korean and took a boat across the sea to defect.

The reports say the man was found Saturday in Nagato, a city across the Sea of Japan from the Korean Peninsula.

The Asahi newspaper cited police as saying the man wants to defect.

The man said he left North Korea on a wooden boat and jumped into the sea off Japan on Friday night, according to the Asahi. Holding onto a plastic container, he reached shore the next morning.

NHK says he told police another man on the boat returned to North Korea. The man on shore was turned over to immigration officials to determine if he is a defector.