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International relations

Beijing admits holding Japan corporate employee in detention

Itochu worker was arrested a year ago for undisclosed reasons

Reports surfaced during the week that the man was arrested in Guangzhou and is being held by a counterintelligence agency.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's Foreign Ministry acknowledged Friday that an employee of Japanese trading house Itochu is being held in detention, following news reports Thursday on the matter.

"China has taken measures in accordance to law on the Japanese citizen suspected of violating Chinese laws," spokesman Geng Shuang said during his regular press conference, when asked by a journalist. He did not specify the nature of the suspicion, nor disclose which agency is holding the person, who was arrested in February 2018.

Based on the China-Japan Consular Agreement, "China maintains unimpeded consular communication with the Japanese side and provides necessary assistance for them to fulfill consular duties," Geng said. "I hope that the Japanese side can remind its citizens in China to respect Chinese laws and regulations and steer clear of criminal activities."

A male employee of Itochu has been held by China's counterintelligence agency in Guangzhou, an informed source said Thursday. The body charged with cracking down on foreign espionage is believed to have detained him.

"It is disturbing because the reason is unclear," an employee of a major Japanese company in Beijing said.

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