FUKUOKA – Drowning has been identified as the cause of death of a Cabinet Office official who was found drifting in a dinghy with Korean money off the coast of Kitakyushu last month, the Japan Coast Guard’s regional office said.
The 7th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters also revealed Friday that it asked for help from the United States and South Korea via Interpol to learn what the official was doing before he died.
The 30-year-old official, who had been attending graduate school in Minnesota since last July, was believed to have left for South Korea last month to attend an economics seminar, but the exact details of his movements remain a mystery. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency will investigate what he was doing in the country.
A judicial autopsy showed that the official died one or two weeks before his body was discovered and that he had no major injuries.
The coast guard office is investigating the case as a possible accident or a crime.
On Jan. 18, the coast guard received a call from a ship sailing off Kitakyushu that said a man was seen lying down in a vinyl boat about 500 meters away from breakwaters. The boat was later spotted but overturned in the rough seas. His body was claimed Jan. 20.