The Chinese Embassy in Tokyo has revealed that a man from mainland China has been arrested and is now in Japanese custody after entering a U.S. naval base. The embassy is still getting details about what happened, but said it would be providing consular assistance for the man, as he is suspected of violating Japanese laws on Sunday, March 3rd, when he was found on the United States’ Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The Chinese citizen was identified as 24 year old Song Dongtao by Japan’s Kyodo news agency, and is actually a sailor with the Chinese navy, originating from Fujian Province. Song is said to have “wandered” onto the Yokosuka base at around 11:20 AM on Sunday, eventually getting spotted by U.S. soldiers and then being handed over to Japanese police. He told authorities that he arrived in Japan 10 days ago through Nagasaki port, and wasn’t willing to return to China. Apparently he went to Yokosuka in order to try to join the U.S. Navy.
While the Japanese police say they are still investigating Song’s motives, he is being charged with violating the U.S-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). It will be interesting to find out if the Chinese national was actually trying to do something malicious, or really believed he could just join the U.S. forces by leaving his own country and showing up on a base in Japan. It is also a bit concerning that someone was able to “wander” onto a U.S. base with such apparent ease, although few details about how he did so have been revealed.[via Global Times]