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Jul 18, 10:48 AM EDT

Reports: Japan investigating possible North Korean defector

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TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese media say a man who turned up in a western port city over the weekend says he is North Korean and took a boat across the sea to defect.

The reports say the man was found Saturday in Nagato, a city across the Sea of Japan from the Korean Peninsula.

The national Asahi newspaper cited police as saying the man wants to defect. He told police he was born in 1990, but had no proof of identity.

The man said he left North Korea on a wooden boat three days earlier and jumped into the sea off Japan on Friday night, according to the Asahi. Holding onto a plastic container, he reached shore the next morning.

NHK says he told police another man on the boat headed back to North Korea. The man who reached shore was turned over to immigration officials, who will try to determine if he is a defector, the public broadcaster said.

A few North Korean defectors have arrived on Japan's coast over the years, often after failing to reach South Korea. They have generally been sent to South Korea.

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