GHOST ships filled the rotting corpses of its North Korean crew have been washing up on the Japanese coast in an eerie testament to the oppressive and brutal regime.
Haunting images and photos have emerged of the Japanese authorities hauling the decrepit, rusty wrecks from the ocean.
In terrible conditions and in varying states of decay, the eerie vessels still bear scraps of the North Korean flag they sailed under.
Faded writing on the hull identifying the ships as belonging to the ‘Korean People’s Army’, along with the remnants of the flags, are the only indication of where these ships came from.
Japanese authorities have yet to establish a cause of death
The flimsy fishing boats have been drifting across the sea of Japan
Autopsies conducted on the bodies found some had been dead for months.
But despite ordering an investigation, Japanese authorities have yet to establish a cause of death, with some remains so badly decomposed it was impossible to discover what had killed them.
Some theories have been put forward, which include defectors of Kim Jong-un's brutal regime are trying to make their escape to freedom in the boats.
The majority of citizens born under the tyrannical rule of Kim Jong-un are never allowed to leave the secretive state.
Orders issued by the portly dictator cannot be ignored under pain of death
The bodies of the crews were all in civilian clothes
Another theory is that the crew of the fishing boats are simply poor fisherman sent out to bring in the daily catch but who got lost or ran into trouble.
The primitive vessels - none of which are fitted with GPS or any modern navigation tools - could have been manned by an inexperienced crew who were overwhelmed by the complexities of sailing on the open sea.
The hermit kingdom is known to struggle with feeding its population, with previous famines killing thousands of people.
Tyrannical leader Kim Jong-un is thought to have been putting pressure on the fishing industry to meet impossible quotas to help feed the starving millions, which could have seen ordinary folk sent out to sea.
The bodies of the crews, all in civilian clothes, could have tried their hand at sailing into deeper waters to try and bring in a catch to meet Kim Jong-un’s demands.
The ‘ghost-ships’ are becoming a regular occurrence along Japan’s west coast
Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press, said: “When Kim Jong-un issues an order no one can ignore it, even if he is asking them to do the impossible.
“That means inexperienced soldiers go out to sea, even in terrible conditions and with no idea what they are doing.”
It is believed the fate of the crew resulted from getting lost or being caught in bad weather in the rickety boats, ill-equipped for rough conditions, and the crew died from exposure or starvation after drifting on the ocean.