Two Japanese men were arrested Wednesday after cutting a hole in the fence at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman said.

According to Yamato police, two men from Zama city used wire cutters to cut a hole about 3 inches by 12 inches in the fence on the west side of base near the communications office around 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.

Two Atsugi sailors from Strike Fighter Squadron 102 walking by off base at the time frightened the men away, police and base officials said. The sailors noted the men’s description and car and reported it to the base security, a Yamato police spokesman said.

Base security personnel returned to check on the hole and found the two intruders had returned. The men again ran, but security officials were able to note their license plate number to provide to Japanese police, who traced the men to one of their residences, the spokesman said.

Wataru Onodera, 26, and Kazumi Kitano, 28, were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted unlawful entry, the spokesman said. The two told police they were trying to steal electric cable.

Base officials could not comment on how the breach will affect security policy but added that they consider the incident minor.

“There is absolutely no call for alarm from this incident,” said base spokesman Brian Naranjo. “At no time was there any danger to anyone on base as a result of this.”

The hole was repaired immediately after the incident, he said, adding that the sailors who discovered the men deserve credit for their capture.

“The sailors did a great job by recognizing a situation that looked out of the ordinary, then following up by reporting it to security,” Naranjo said. “It was exactly the right thing to do.”

Japanese police sent the case to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office in Fujisawa on Thursday, the Yamato police spokesman said.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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