Man claiming to be Chinese sailor arrested inside Yokosuka Naval Base
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – A Chinese man accused of illegally entering the U.S military’s largest Navy base in the Pacific on Sunday was detained and handed over to Japanese authorities, military and police officials said Tuesday.
Dongtao Song, 24, was formally arrested Monday on suspicion of unlawful entry after being apprehended by military law enforcement officials around 11:20 a.m. the previous day, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman told Stars and Stripes.
Yokosuka Naval Base officials confirmed that a Chinese national had been detained Sunday, but referred all other questions to Japanese police.
Yokosuka police said Song identified himself as a member of China’s navy, and a native of Fujian province, according to a Kyodo News report.
It remains unclear exactly how Song gained access to the base. The Kyodo News report, citing Yokosuka police, stated he entered through a gate leading to the base’s docks. The primary gates open to the public on weekends during daytime are typically manned by U.S. Navy sailors and Japanese security guards. Visitors require an escort from a Defense Department identification card holder to get on base, and citizens from China and certain other nations typically must apply for base access in advance.
Song told police that he arrived in Japan 10 days earlier through Nagasaki port, in Japan’s southwest, according to Kyodo News.
He said he did want to go back to China and came to Yokosuka by train to join the U.S. Navy. If that’s true, Song traveled a lot longer than necessary. Sasebo Naval Base is 50 miles from Nagasaki, while Yokosuka is about 750 miles away.
Navy officials added that they would be working closely with Japanese authorities on the investigation into Song’s appearance.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.