Japan on alert as boats thought to be from North Korea found

Japan is urging local authorities and fishermen to be on the alert after several boats thought to be from North Korea were found on its northern coast.

The chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, made the comments Tuesday after a boat carrying dead bodies was found on the coast of Akita prefecture, which faces North Korea across the Sea of Japan.

He said local police and other authorities and residents should report if they spot any suspicious boats or people

Last week, police rescued eight people thought to be North Korean fishermen.

It is unclear if the people aboard the several dozen North Korean boats that drift near Japanese shores each year are intending to defect or simply unable to make their way back aboard their unseaworthy wooden boats.