Reports: Russian says he swam to Japan island, wants asylum

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TOKYO (AP) — Reports and officials say a Russian man from a Russian-held island claimed by both Tokyo and Moscow is seeking asylum after being found in a wetsuit on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido. Japanese media reports say the man was found on the coast of Hokkaido across from Kuhashiri island, one of four Russian-held islands claimed by both countries. They say he said he swam about 20 kilometers (12 miles) to Hokkaido to seek asylum. The reports say the man was wearing a wetsuit when he was found by a local resident last Thursday. The regional immigration office says he is being interviewed to determine whether he is eligible for a temporary landing permit or refugee status, or is subject to repatriation.

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