North Korean Seamen Arrested after Entering Japan

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Japanese Authorities arrested three seamen on a North Korean ship on Saturday for stealing a generator from a hut on an uninhabited island, public broadcaster NHK said, the most recent play amid increasing arrivals of North Korean fishing boats away Japan.

The boats, some in distress, some abandoned and some with dead bodies on board, have increased fears about infiltration from spies as anxiety with North Korea strikes within its missile and nuclear programs. North Korea has test-fired two missiles over Japan, a nation it’s threatened to destroy.

Most experts say the wooden ships are just carrying sailors such as soldiers drafted to fish. There has been no suggestion that the crew are spies.

A boat, with 10 crew on board, was discovered moored in the island, off Hokkaido, last month and several said they picked up items from the hut, according to NHK.

Police detained three of them for theft as well as other team members will be transmitted to the Immigration Bureau, NHK said.

Hokkaido authorities were not immediately available to comment. A spokesman at the Japan coast guard declined to comment.

There were 28 cases of boats adrift away Japan or grounded on its beaches in November, the coast guard has stated, compared with just four in November last calendar year.