TOKYO — The top government spokesperson for Japan said on Monday that Tokyo has asked China free a Japanese individual who was arrested in Beijing earlier this month.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the chief cabinet secretary, revealed during a press conference that the Chinese government had informed Japan’s embassy in China that a Japanese man in his 50s had been arrested in Beijing earlier in March for allegedly breaking local laws.
According to Matsuno, the Japanese government has since sought the Japanese national’s prompt release. Japan also demanded that the guy be permitted access to representatives of the Japanese consulate. According to him, the Japanese government is doing everything it can to support the man, including getting in touch with the appropriate parties.
Astellas Pharma Inc., a Japanese pharmaceutical business, said that the individual detained in Beijing is a worker for the company but declined to provide any other information, such as his name, position, or if he is based in China. The business claimed that the Japanese Foreign Ministry was the source of its information request.
There have been more than a dozen such instances of Japanese nationals being detained on spying-related charges after having business or other contacts with China. In 2022, a Japanese diplomat was held for questioning but released a few hours later, drawing vehement criticism from Japan’s Foreign Ministry.
Tokyo and Beijing have been at odds more and more in recent years because Japan sees China’s escalating influence in the area as a danger to its economic and national security.