China said on Wednesday that it arrested two Japanese citizens for suspected espionage. The two men, both in their 50s, were taken into custody separately in May, one in the northeastern province of Liaoning and the other in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported that one of the men was detained in Dandong, Liaoning Province, which borders the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while the other was detained near a military facility near Shanghai Municipality in Zhejiang Province.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that “China’s relevant authorities have arrested two Japanese suspects for engaging in espionage activities in China in accordance with the law. China has already notified the Japanese side of the relevant situation.”
Chinese authorities say that they are looking into whether the two men had acted under instructions from the Japanese government.
Responding to the revelations, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that Japanese diplomatic missions (in China) were providing appropriate support from the viewpoint of protecting Japanese nationals.
Suga denied that the Japanese government had sent spies to China when asked on Thursday.