The ghost ship had been drifting in the Sea of Japan for ages, and it finally washed up on a beach in Japan. Initial investigation of the contents of the boat has revealed the presence of items that point to links with North Korea, and it is possible that the skeletons were of defectors who tried to escape to freedom.

New Zealand Herald reports that the wooden boat contained cigarette packets of a popular North Korean brand apart from life jackets that had Korean lettering. The occupants of the boat did not have an opportunity to use the jackets.

Officials believe that the ship was headed for Japan, and the skeletons could be of North Koreans who tried to defect.

Defections from North Korea

Ships with dead bodies wash up on the coast of Japan regularly. This year there were 40 such instances while the figure last year was 66. Some of these are fishing boat crews died at sea for reasons unknown. However, the latest vessel did not appear to belong to this category, and there are few doubts that the skeletal remains could be of North Korean defectors.

It seems hundreds of people defect successfully, and recently one of the security guards of North Korea sprinted across the border to enter South Korea. Rough estimates have put the number of such defections at around 30,000 ever since the 1953 Korean War.

The main reason for trying to escape to freedom is the living condition in the country. Those who have defected to nearby countries have narrated their experiences which are shocking. Since it is a secretive state, outsiders do not have easy access to its lifestyle. One has to rely on information released through official channels.

North Korea faces a humanitarian crisis

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is determined to nuke the United States. He has, therefore, allotted topmost priority to develop nuclear weapons which has brought along global condemnation. The United Nations has slapped economic sanctions on it which has affected the economy of the country.

The population is reported to be suffering and, many of them feel defection is the only way out of their miseries. The defectors are aware of the severe consequences of imprisonment or death if they are caught, and many of them die in the process. Still, they make the attempt to escape to South Korea or China or Japan.

The Korean War has divided the peninsula, and families have been separated. After Moon Jae-in took over as president of South Korea, he extended an olive branch for peace in the neighborhood. Kim Jong-un has yet to accept the offer.