Mystery man shows up in Japan, claims he swam there from Russia

A man claiming to be from Russia was found wandering the streets of Shibetsu, small town on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. He told the police he swam 20km from Kunashir island and is seeking asylum.

Kunashir island is under Russian control, though both Japan and Russia claim it as their own. At this time of year, the water temperature in the area is 15 C (59 F). Is it possible for him to swim in such cold water without blacking out? The man was fully clothed and wearing a hat when he was found in Shibetsu. Did he bring them in a plastic bag? I have so many questions!

From Japan Today:

Kunashir is the nearest to Japan of the Kuril Islands archipelago, an island chain which is administered by Russia but under dispute by Japan. Russia seized control of the islands at the very end of World War II, but Japan feels that the ensuing treaties don't give them the complete control they currently exercise. The matter is still under negotiation between the two countries.

As for the mysterious visitor to Shibetsu, little is known about why he chose to flee the rather remote island with only a slightly larger population than the town he arrived in. The man also had told police that he wants asylum in a "third country" that isn't Japan or Russia. Hokkaido Prefectural Police and the Sapporo Regional Immigration Bureau are currently investigating his claim and trying to confirm his identity.

Image of Shibetsu: Google Maps