Japanese man gets 15-year prison sentence in China for spying

Photo by the Kyodo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, May 21, 2019, Kyodo. A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a Japanese man convicted of spying to 15 years in prison, Sino-Japanese sources revealed Monday. The man, in his 50s, was also fined 100,000 yuan (about 1.6 million yen) by the court in Hainan Province for having illegally obtained state secrets, analyzed them and disseminated them abroad, they said, reported the Kyodo.

Since 2015, at least nine Japanese people have been indicted in China for alleged involvement in spying activities, and this marks the seventh time for a court to render a verdict.

The man, director of a hot spring development consultant company in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, was detained in 2017 along with five other Japanese while assisting in geological assessments of potential sites in Hainan and Shandong provinces.

Two of the six were formally arrested later that year for having violated anti-espionage and national security laws, local media reported previously, while the other four were allowed to return to Japan.

The authorities had reportedly retrieved a large amount of classified information, including nearly 80 copies of maps, from the pair’s computers and other electronic devices.

Of the two who were arrested, the other man, in his 70s, was sentenced last Friday to five years and six months of imprisonment by a court in Shandong.

The issue of the Japanese detainees in China was raised at the summit level when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing in October 2017 and stated that the Japanese government is not engaged in spying activities in the country.

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