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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea says it will release detained Japanese tourist

Move on 'humanitarian grounds' seen as olive branch to Tokyo and Washington

The Japanese government had been requesting the release of a Japanese citizen detained in North Korea since mid-August.

SEOUL -- North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday that Pyongyang has decided to expel a Japanese citizen on humanitarian grounds after he was detained for apparently breaking the country's law.

KCNA said that Tomoyuki Sugimoto, visiting North Korea as a tourist, was under investigation but did not elaborate on the suspicions against him. Japan's government is trying to confirm the details.

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