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Tokyo Demands China Free Japan National Detained in Beijing

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo has demanded that China release a Japanese national who was detained in Beijing earlier this month, Japan’s top government spokesman said Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a news conference that Japan’s embassy in China was informed by the Chinese authority that a Japanese man in his 50s was taken into custody in Beijing earlier in March over allegedly violating domestic law.

Matsuno said the Japanese government has since demanded the early release of the Japanese national. Japan also requested that Chinese authorities allow the man access to Japanese consulate officials. He said Japan’s government is providing as much support for the man as possible, including communicating with relevant parties.

A Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma Inc. acknowledged that the man detained in Beijing is an employee of the firm, but declined to disclose further details, including his name, position and whether he is based in China. The company said it was seeking information from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

There have been more than a dozen other cases involving Japanese citizens who had business or other connections with China being arrested over allegations including spying. A Japanese diplomat was detained for questioning in 2022 and was released hours later, prompting strong protests from Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

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