A wooden 'ghost ship' bearing North Korean badges has washed ashore in central Japan with eight decomposing bodies on board

Eight decomposing bodies have been discovered on board a wooden boat, thought to be North Korean, that has washed ashore in Japan.

The 16m wooden vessel was found washed ashore in Kanazawa last week. Police and the Japan Coast Guard have been handling the investigation.

One body was initially found on board but bad weather stopped the Coast Guard investigating further. Seven more heavily decomposed bodies were found on board when the weather abated.

According to reports, badges depicting the image of Kim il-Sung, the founder of the state and former leader Kim Jong-il were found on board. A cigarette box with Korean lettering was also found.

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In 2017, approximately 104 wooden ships thought to be from the Korean peninsula washed up on Japanese shores last year, compared with 66 in 2016.

The washed up boat is part of a spate of grim discoveries on the Japanese and South Korean coasts. In November, eight bodies were found in the remains of another vessel on the island of Sado.

More on the ‘ghost ships’ washed up in 2017:

According to the Coast Guard, the boats are often not equipped to handle the long voyage from North Korea.