Four North castaways now in Tottori

Kyodo

Three of four men rescued from a North Korean boat adrift in the Sea of Japan arrived Thursday at Miho Bay, Tottori Prefecture, the Japan Coast Guard said.

The boat was also towed into the bay, where the three will be questioned aboard a coast guard patrol boat, according to the coast guard. The other man, who was dehydrated when rescued, was taken to a hospital and is recovering, according to the 8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.

The 20-meter-long boat was spotted drifting Tuesday about 140 km northeast of the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture. The four men aboard were rescued Wednesday.

The four told the coast guard they came from North Korea and suffered engine trouble.

They had expressed a wish to return to North Korea after their boat is repaired.

Police on Wednesday meanwhile found the body of a male aboard a wooden boat that washed ashore in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture.

A plastic tank marked with Korean characters was found on the boat, and the police suspect the vessel came from North Korea.

A wooden boat carrying five dead men beached on Niigata Prefecture’s Sado Island in late November, followed by similar cases of drifting boats believed to have come from North Korea.