For residents of Japan's west coast, derelict ships washing up on the beach may continue to be a more common sight.
Over the past month, at least four ships, some with dead bodies, have been washing ashore in Ishikawa and Akita prefectures.
The bodies of the men were decomposing, leaving just ragged skeletons behind, and the ship had apparently been drifting for quite some time.
In November alone, 15 dead bodies and skeletons have been discovered, and 11 living North Koreans have been rescued and returned to the Hermit Kingdom. In 2015, a dozen such ships were found in the last few months of the year.
In January this year, Japanese authorities rescued 26 North Koreans from a sinking tanker off the Goto Islands, in southwest Japan.
Television footage showed a wrecked vessel with an eight-digit number on it, which washed up on Oga peninsula on Sunday.
As reported by Kyodo News, the ship was first spotted offshore by the Japan Coast Guard but officials couldn't get close enough to investigate it due to risky weather conditions.
A wrecked wooden boat with squid-fishing equipment was also found on the coastline. A week later, authorities rescued more North Koreans after their boat washed up on shores.
He promised stern action to respond to what he said were "escalating provocations" by North Korea.
Small and old North Korean ships that sail beyond its coastal waters are vulnerable to bad weather, he said.
Get the hottest, most important news stories on the Internet - delivered FREE to your inbox as soon as they break!
Tensions between North Korea and Japan have risen astronomically after the latter has adopted a firm stance against the Kim Jong-un dictatorship that has only strengthened since Donald Trump visited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The most likely explanation is that the men were refugees hoping to escape North Korea only to meet their untimely demise in the Sea of Japan.
Other experts point to food shortages in the rogue state as a reason boats are having to sail further in an attempt to bring in a higher fishing yield.