China hold­ing 2 Ja­panese cit­i­zens for es­pi­onage

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MARI YA­M­AGUCHI

Main­land China has ar­rested two Ja­panese cit­i­zens on spy­ing al­le­ga­tions, of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day.

Ja­panese Chief Cab­i­net Spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga told re­porters that the two were de­tained in May, one in Zhe­jiang province and the other in Liaon­ing. China said the two are sus­pected of spy­ing.

Suga said that the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment knew about the ar­rests soon af­ter the two were de­tained, but with­held the in­for­ma­tion due to safety rea­sons.

He re­fused to give de­tails on the ar­rests, in­clud­ing the spe­cific al­le­ga­tions the two face. Ear­lier, Suga said that the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment “ab­so­lutely (does) no such thing,” re­fer­ring to send­ing spies to other coun­tries.

The gov­ern­ment has pro­vided sup­port for the two through Ja­panese diplo­matic es­tab­lish­ments, Suga said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing. A For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial in charge of the safety of over­seas Ja­panese said the two were in good health, but that any prospect for their re­lease was not known.

China’s gov­ern­ment said author­i­ties ar­rested the two on sus­pi­cion of spy­ing.

“The le­gal ba­sis of the ar­rests is that these two peo­ple en­gaged in spy­ing in China,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hong Lei said at a reg­u­lar brief­ing Wed­nes­day in Bei­jing. “If there’s any­thing in com­mon for these two peo­ple, it’s that both of them en­gaged in spy­ing in China.”

Ja­panese news­pa­pers and tele­vi­sion sta­tions re­ported that the two were both men. One was ap­pre­hended near mil­i­tary fa­cili- ties in coastal Zhe­jiang, and the other near the bor­der with North Korea at about the same time, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports, which cited un­named sources fa­mil­iar with Ja­pan-China af­fairs. Ky­odo News agency re­ported that a third Ja­panese man was also in cus­tody over an un­known al­le­ga­tion.

Satoshi Tomisaka, a China ex­pert at Takushoku Univer­sity, said that the ar­rests re­flected China’s tight­en­ing of its sur­veil­lance against grow­ing for­eign in­flu­ence, a move that re­flects main­land China leader Xi Jin­ping’s lead­er­ship.

“We can as­sume that un­der­lings be­lieve tight­en­ing con­trol is what the lead­er­ship wants them to do, and act­ing faith­fully,” he told Ja­panese na­tional broad­caster NHK.

In 2010, four em­ploy­ees of a Ja­panese con­struc­tion com­pany were ac­cused of film­ing a Chi­nese mil­i­tary site in He­bei province but were re­leased within a few weeks.

AP

Ja­pan’s Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga takes a ques­tion from a jour­nal­ist dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the prime min­is­ter’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Tokyo, Wed­nes­day, Sept. 30.

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