Record Number of Drifting Wooden Boats Found in Japan in 2017 (News)
Tokyo, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press)—A total of 83 wooden boats apparently from North Korea have been found drifting in the Sea of Japan or to the Japanese coast so far this year, the highest figure since comparable data become available in 2013, the Japan Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The number of such boats, as of Wednesday noon, topped the previous annual record of 80, marked in 2013, probably because of extreme weather conditions in the Sea of Japan, which lies between Japan and North Korea, from late October caused in part by two typhoons, coast guard officials said.
Besides, more drifting boats were found as the coast guard and the Fisheries Agency beefed up surveillance for illegal fishing in Yamatotai, a rich squid fishing ground in the sea swamped particularly by fishermen believed to be North Korean in this season, they said.
No covert-operations vessels were discovered among the boats, they added.
After 2013, the combined number of wooden boats found adrift or washed ashore came to 65 in 2014, 45 in 2015 and 66 in 2016.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]