The late Akira Yoshimura authored a short story called “The Captain Wept.” In it, the captain of a drifting fishing vessel writes his will as his crew continue to die one after another.
“Listen to what your father says. Do not become a fisherman, even when you grow older. Please become smart, for my sake.” He is urging his young son not to become a fisherman to avoid a similar fate. Having finished writing, tears form in the eyes of the captain.
The story was based on the maritime disaster of December 1926, involving the ship Ryoeimaru off the coast of Choshi City. Adrift on the Kuroshio Current, the ship was found in October 1927 off the Seattle coastline in the United States. It contained the mummified remains of two people and skeletal remains of 10 others.
This year, on the 23rd of November, a North Korean Squid-fishing boat drifted ashore at the Yurihonjou City coastline in Akita Prefecture. All eight members of the crew, including the captain, were found safely aboard. Apparently, they spent a month lost, weathering the rough winter conditions of the Japan Sea. They were very lucky. Following this, eight bodies were discovered upon a small wooden vessel found on the Oga City coastline. Obviously, it is possible that this too was a North Korean vessel.
For the past five years, non-defecting North Korean citizens have been rescued along the Japanese coastline. And discoveries of fishing boats carrying corpses continue. The reason behind this is North Korean President Kim Jong-un’s focus on promoting the fishing industry.
The push is meant to halt the deterioration of the food supply, as well as to earn foreign capital. There are even reports that coastal fishing rights have been sold to Chinese companies. Consequently, the North Korean fishermen are repeatedly carrying out illegal operations in the favorable fishing conditions within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The eight members of the aforementioned crew are about to be returned to their home country, in accordance with their wishes. One would think that it is time for North Korea to return the abduction victims, yet the country continues its refusal to even convey news of the abductees’ situation. Could there be anything more unjust?
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)