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No charges for Chinese man who entered Yokosuka Navy base illegally

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Chinese man who illegally entered the largest U.S. Navy base in the Pacific  last month was turned over to immigration services, but will not face criminal charges.

Dongtao Song, 24, was taken into custody by Immigration Bureau of Japan officials in mid-March, after Japanese prosecutors declined to press charges against him, Japanese officials said last week.

A Japanese immigration bureau spokesman in Yokohama declined to say whether Song has been deported. A Yokosuka prosecutor’s office spokesman also declined to comment on why charges against Song were not pursued.

Song scaled a perimeter fence on March 3 and was apprehended near one of the base’s dry docks, Navy officials told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday. He was arrested by Navy security officials and subsequently turned over to Japanese authorities, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman said.

Yokosuka police said Song identified himself as a member of China’s navy, according to an earlier Kyodo News report. However, Yokosuka Naval Base officials said Tuesday that Song arrived in Japan as a fishing vessel crewmember, according to information they obtained from Japanese police.

“There was no indication that he was a member of the Chinese Navy,” according to a base statement provided to Stars and Stripes.

Kyodo News also reported earlier that police stated Song had entered through a base gate leading to ship docks.

The closest such public gate is normally locked on weekends. The public gates at the base’s two main entrances are manned by Japanese security guards and Navy masters-at-arms.

The Navy’s statement added that their security fence will “impede, delay and discourage access,” but that the fence will not stop a determined intruder. Base security forces do employ other measures, though officials declined to discuss them in too much detail.

“We have reviewed the incident and taken steps to prevent a recurrence,” according to the base statement.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.

slavin.erik@stripes.com
Twitter: @eslavin_stripes

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