Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese Coast Guards found a small wooden boat Tuesday morning drifting off Japan's western coast with nine men, women and children on board claiming they are from North Korea, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
The people on the eight-meter boat were being questioned, the spokesman said.
A fisherman saw the boat drifting about 25 km (15 miles) off the coast of Noto peninsula of Ishikawa prefecture, West Japan, and reported it to authorities.
The coast guard would not say where the possible North Korea defectors would be taken.
It is rare for North Korean defectors to sail to Japan's coast. According to Coast Guard records, there have been only been two other cases.
One was in 2006, when four North Korean men and women floated to northern Japan. The other was in 1987, when a family of 11 drifted to west Japan.