TOKYO – Japanese authorities are investigating eight men found on Japan's northern coast who say they are from North Korea and washed ashore after their boat broke down.
Media reports say investigators believe the men are not defectors and wish to return home.
Akita prefectural police said Friday they found the men late Thursday after receiving a call about suspicious men standing around at the seaside in Yurihonjo town. Police also found a wooden boat reportedly carrying squid at a nearby marina.
Police said the Korean-speaking men were in good health and identified themselves as North Koreans who were fishing before the boat broke down and washed ashore.
Wreckage believed to be North Korean boats regularly washes ashore in northern Japan during winter due to seasonal winds.