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Tokyo shocked by bizarre nude swimmer -

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Tokyo shocked by bizarre nude swimmer

The World Today - Wednesday, 8 October , 2008 12:57:00

Reporter: Shane McLeod

TANYA NOLAN: Forget your stock market meltdowns, your political turmoil, even your food safety

There's one topic that has Japan talking today, and that's a bizarre nude swim by a British tourist
in one of the country's highest security waterways, the moat around the Imperial Palace in the
centre of Tokyo.

Our Tokyo correspondent Shane McLeod reports on a two-hour togs-off standoff.

SHANE MCLEOD: As a nation Japan isn't entirely adverse to nudity, one of the countries well-known
festivals involves hundreds of near naked men parading through the streets with large objects
shaped like male appendages, promoting masculinity and fertility, but there's a time and a place
for nudity, and swimming in the moat of the Imperial Palace in the heart of Tokyo is not it.

The man was of a portly build, completely bald and completely nude.

His pink complexion hinted he wasn't Japanese, but television networks used pixilation to stop the
revealing performance being too revealing.

While onlookers at the palace used their mobile phone cameras to keep snap shots for posterity,
police at first tried to rescue the man, from a small row boat they tried to throw him a float, but
when he started hurling rocks back at them, they quickly backed off and prepared for a more
aggressive approach.

The lumbering nude swimmer climbed out of the moat, but refused to go quietly, he started charging
police with a pedestrian safety barrier, then he was pushed back into the water.

Eventually after his two hour swim and stand-off, he climbed up the high wall on the other side of
the moat, and was promptly arrested.

Exactly what triggered his need for a dip is still being determined, he was reportedly touring the
palace forecourt with a group of Spanish tourists when he inexplicably emptied his pockets,
stripped naked and and plunged into the grey green waters of the moat.

Some reports suggest the man had dropped a bag, he went to the police box outside the palace to
report it, then stripped off and jumped into the water to retrieve it.

Others suggest he was simply excited to be at the Imperial Palace.

The British Embassy in Tokyo this morning, says it's investigating whether the man is a British
citizen or a dual national, but could not comment further on the case.

In a nation where appearances are everything, this is one performance unlikely to be welcomed back
for a repeat appearance.

This is Shane McLeod in Tokyo for The World Today.