10 Pakistani Navy sailors go AWOL during rare Tokyo goodwill port call

The Associated Press

News photo
A Pkistani Navy destroyer – and a supply ship are seen docked at Harumi Wharf in Tokyo on Thursday.
KYODO PHOTO

“They went out for sightseeing and then they disappeared,” a Pakistan Embassy official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol. “We’ve asked (authorities) to apprehend them so they can be deported to Pakistan for violation of the law.”

A Pakistani destroyer and supply ship docked Tuesday in Tokyo, marking the second-ever port call by the Pakistani Navy and the first since 1983. The naval exchange is part of the two countries’ cooperation in antiterrorism activities in the Indian Ocean.

On Thursday, 11 low-ranking sailors went on shore leave in Tokyo but never returned for duty, the embassy official said. It was unclear what happened to the missing crew, but the ships left port Friday without them.

Local police official Shuji Saito put the number of sailors at 10, and said eight disappeared Wednesday and another two disappeared Thursday. It was unclear what accounted for the discrepancy.

Pakistan Navy spokesman Capt. Siddiq Akbar confirmed that the ships had left without the sailors and that Pakistani authorities had asked their Japanese counterparts to track them down.

“After finding out the reason for their absence, the legal proceedings will take their course,” Akbar said.

He provided no further details.

Police and Defense Ministry officials could not immediately confirm whether the crew members were missing. The ministry said about 600 Pakistani sailors were aboard the two visiting vessels.