A wooden boat carrying eight men claiming to be from North Korea has been washed up on the coast of northern Japan.

Police found the eight men on a marina in the city of Yurihonjo, after they received a call from a local resident late yesterday, broadcaster NHK reported today.

The eight men had no life-threatening injuries and appeared to speak Korean, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing police.

The men said they came from North Korea and were trying to catch fish when their 20-metre boat got into trouble and they were washed ashore, Hachiro Okonogi, the head of the National Public Safety Commission, told reporters, according to Jiji Press.

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Police took them into protective custody, where they were being questioned with the help of interpreters.

Police were not available to make any further comment.

Last week, the Japanese Coast Guard rescued three North Korean crew members from their capsised fishing vessel in the Sea of Japan and handed them over to another North Korean ship.

- AAP