28 wooden boats found on or near Japanese shores
NHK -- Dec 05
The Japan Coast Guard says as many as 28 wooden boats believed to be from the Korean Peninsula were spotted drifting off the Japanese coast or had run aground in November. It is the largest monthly figure since recordkeeping began 4 years ago.

The number of such cases tends to increase in wintertime, when the Sea of Japan often becomes rough.

This year, the figure began to increase sharply in October after leveling off at between 2 and 5 in the previous months. The number reached 63 on Sunday, and is expected to increase further.

Analysts say behind these incidents are North Korea's attempts to catch more fish to make up for an acute food shortage in the country and to gain foreign currencies.

Experts also point out that an increasing number of North Korean fishing boats are now operating in the Sea of Japan instead of near the North Korean coast. They say the North Korean government has sold off the fishing rights near its coast to Chinese fishermen as a way to gain foreign currencies.

News source: NHK
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