A man claiming to have escaped North Korea was found wandering Saturday in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan, police and government officials said.
The man told the police he had jumped off a boat and swam to the coast, a government official said. He was found on a street in Nagato city on the Sea of Japan coast after a local resident notified the police at around 11:15 a.m.
The man, wearing a black T-shirt and pants, said he was born in 1990 but did not have anything to prove his identity, the official said. The boat has yet to be located.
After questioning, the police will hand him over to immigration authorities to determine whether he is a North Korean defector who needs protection and assistance.
In 2007, Japan sent to South Korea a family of four people from North Korea who arrived in Aomori Prefecture on a small boat. In 2011, nine North Korean defectors were rescued in the Sea of Japan off Ishikawa Prefecture and later sent to South Korea.