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Rescued N. Korean boat crew deported from Japan

Eight North Koreans rescued from a boat adrift near an island in northern Japan last year were deported home via China on Friday. The eight men were part of a group of 10 North Korean “fishermen” spotted aboard a tiny wooden boat struggling in bad weather last November. They are to return to North Korea from a Hokkaido airport via Beijing, AFP quoted a spokeswoman for the Sapporo Regional Immigration Bureau as saying. Two other crewmembers remain in Japan, one of them in hospital with tuberculosis and the other, the boat’s 45-year-old skipper, facing charges of theft, according to the spokeswoman. Dozens of North Korean fishing vessels have washed up on Japan’s coast in recent years, hitting a record 104 in 2017, up from 66 the previous year, the Japanese Coastguard said.