Four men claiming to be from North Korea landed on a western Japan island Tuesday after their boat apparently lost power and came under the protection of Japanese authorities, police said.
They told the authorities their names and dates of births, and a wooden boat, about 9.3 meters long and 2.4 meters wide, was found on the nearby shore, according to the police.
[The Shimane prefectural police force]
A male resident of the town of Okinoshima, located on one of the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, reported seeing the men in the morning, they said.
They might have drifted due to engine problems on the boat, the police said. Immigration officials are expected to question them further Wednesday.
Takeko Murakami, an 83-year-old resident, offered the exhausted and freezing men water and rice balls after they asked her for help.
"I didn't understand their language but I wasn't scared," she said, adding that one of the men who appeared to be the leader bowed his head in appreciation after she gave them jackets.