Japan’s New Ambassador to China to Seek Release of Detained Japanese Nationals

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
From left, The Japanese national flag, The Chinese national flag

Beijing (Jiji Press)—Kenji Kanasugi, Japan’s new ambassador to China, said Tuesday that he is determined to make efforts to free at an early date Japanese nationals detained by Chinese authorities on espionage charges.

In a press conference held at the Japanese embassy in Beijing, Kanasugi said he will consider meeting directly with those detainees “as a matter of course.”

Before becoming the first top Japanese diplomat in the country in seven years who does not belong to the so-called China school at Japan’s Foreign Ministry, Kanasugi served as director-general of the ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau and helped arrange meetings between then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I think I can utilize my experience of being part of the process of getting Japan-China relations back on a stable path,” he said.

Regarding China’s protest against the discharge of treated wastewater into the ocean from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Kanasugi said it is crucial to continue to have calm, scientific discussions with Beijing.

The new ambassador also said he will try to make China understand that international law and history say the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are an integral part of Japan’s territory.