This picture taken on November 24, 2015 shows coast guard officials investigating a wooden boat at the Fukui port in Sakai city in Fukui prefecture, western Japan after the ship was found drifting off the coast of Fukui.
JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
By Arata Yamamoto / NBC News
November 30, 2015

TOKYO — A total of 20 decomposing corpses have been found in wooden fishing boats off Japan’s coast, authorities said.

Eleven vessels were discovered in the past two months, the most recent being towed ashore six days ago, a coast guard spokesman told NBC News on Monday.

Items found on board have fueled speculation in the Japanese press that the boats may have come from North Korea. None of the vessels have carried GPS equipment, but instead many contained fishing nets, hooks and pieces of clothing featuring the Korean hangul alphabet, the spokesman said.

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