A wrecked wooden boat, believed to be a North Korean "ghost ship," washed ashore on the Japanese island of Sado on Friday.
Officials found seven human remains on the boat, including two decapitated heads.
Ghost ships are a phenomenon in Japan, especially in the winter, when rough seas batter North Korean boats and blow them way off course.
While it was initially thought that the remains found on these boats were defectors or spies, it's now believed they're simply fishermen straying further to meet demands for food.
Two decapitated heads were found on what's suspected to be a North Korean boat that washed ashore in Japan on Friday.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that a boat with Korean lettering on the side washed ashore on the island of Sado on Friday. During a search of the vessel on Saturday, Coast Guard officials found seven "partially skeletonized" remains.
According to the Associated Press, the remains included three bodies, two heads without bodies, and two bodies without heads. It's unclear yet whether the two heads came from the two bodies without heads. Five remains were determined to be male.
The wooden boat is believed to be a North Korean "ghost ship," about a hundred of which wash ashore in Japan every winter when the Sea of Japan turns violent and northwesterly winds blow boats off course.
While the bodies found aboard these North Korean vessels were initially thought to be defectors or spies, it's now believed that they are fishermen straying further and further to feed the hungry citizens in their home country, where food is slim, according to the BBC.
In 2017, North Korean fishermen were found alive on a drifting vessel and asked to be sent back home.
Japanese officials are investigating the latest grounding. Coast Guard officials in the country are asking anyone who spots a potential ghost ship to call 118, the Coast Guard's emergency number, and to stay away from the boat.
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