China Says Holding Japanese Man in Beijing for Spying

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Chinese national flag

BEIJING (Jiji Press) — China is detaining a Japanese man in Beijing on suspicion of espionage, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning confirmed Monday.

A criminal enforcement action was taken against the Japanese national on suspicion of spying activities in violation of the antiespionage law, Mao told a press conference.

But Mao declined to answer questions from the Japanese media on details of the allegations against the man in his 50s, who has already been confirmed to be an employee of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma Inc.

The man was held by Chinese authorities earlier this month. Beijing has admitted it for the first time.

Including the man, 17 Japanese nationals are known to have been held in China, mainly on suspicion of violating the law, which came into force in 2014.

On Monday, a source well versed in Japan-China relations expressed deep concern, saying that the latest case may have “a serious and immeasurable impact” on the two countries’ ties.

China is urged to release the man early, the source added.