Beijing confirms Japanese citizen held over spying claim
China is investigating a Japanese citizen on suspicion of endangering national security, Beijing said on Saturday.
The ministry confirmed a report from Kyodo news agency on Friday, and added the Japanese embassy had been informed.
The man, in his late 50s, had been staying in Beijing for five days but did not return to Japan as expected on July 15 and has not answered his mobile phone, Kyodo cited Japanese government sources and others as saying.
The Japanese government said on Thursday that a Japanese man was detained in China, but did not say on what charges. When asked whether he was suspected of spying, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan did not engage in espionage against any country.
Relations between the countries are strained by a territorial dispute and the legacy of Japan’s wartime aggression.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a tightening of already strict security measures, including setting up a new national security commission and renaming the 1993 National Security Law to the Counterespionage Law.
At least two Japanese citizens were arrested on suspicion of espionage last year.
In 2010, four Japanese nationals were temporarily detained in China on suspicion of entering a military zone and taking photographs without permission.
The detentions came at a time of escalating tensions between Tokyo and Beijing over a group of uninhabited East China Sea islands called the Diaoyus in China, or Senkakus in Japan.