Japan will not prosecute Chinese diplomat

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 8:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 9:04pm

Japanese prosecutors on Friday decided not to file criminal charges against a Chinese official suspected by police of espionage because he has already left the country, reports said.

Li Chunguang, a 45-year-old first secretary at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, returned to China in late May after being asked to appear before police for questioning.

“He committed the act when he possessed diplomatic privileges and he has already left the post and returned home,” the Tokyo district public prosecutors office told Jiji news agency.

A spokesman for China’s foreign affairs ministry in May described the allegations as “totally groundless”.

According to investigators who spoke to Kyodo news agency, Li falsely identified himself as a professor at the University of Tokyo, submitted a document to officials in Tokyo with a false address, and renewed a foreign registration certificate in April 2008 using a false ID.

The Chinese diplomat was reportedly in contact with senior Japanese farm ministry officials over a project to promote the export of Japanese agricultural products to China.

The Japanese farm ministry launched an in-house investigation in late May to look into allegations that classified documents had been leaked to the diplomat, Kyodo said.

In late June, the ministry released a report stating four sets of classified documents were found to have been leaked, it added.

Ties between China and Japan have nosedived in recent months over disputed islands in the East China Sea, which lie in rich fishing grounds and on key shipping lanes.