KAGOSHIMA – The identity of a man who was rescued Thursday morning floating alone in the sea off Tanegashima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, remains a mystery.
The Asian man has not responded to questions by police and coast guard officials put to him in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and English.
The man is about 170 cm tall and looks to be in his 20s. He was wearing jeans with a tag in Hangul and Chinese and a gray and green tank top. Nothing has been found to indicate his nationality.
He had been clutching what appeared to be a knapsack when he was spotted in the sea, but the bag has not been recovered. At the time of his rescue, there were high waves caused by Typhoon Chaba.
The Japan Coast Guard has deployed a helicopter to search the area where the man was rescued for possible clues to his identity.
Kagoshima Prefectural Police officials and the local branch of the JCG began questioning him after he was admitted to a hospital on the island. He has since recovered to the point that he can eat, they said.
After being pulled from the water, a fisherman asked the man in Japanese if he was alone, and the man reportedly responded by raising a single finger to indicate that he was. The officials said that the man spoke to them in broken Japanese on Friday.
The police and the coast guard are questioning the man as part of their rescue operations.
The law does not allow authorities to detain him because he was rescued on the open sea and there is no evidence that he is a foreigner.
Doctors say he will need to remain in hospital for about a week because he has problems with his kidney functions.
Officials are at a loss of what to do with him when he is released from the hospital.