China, which is notorious for indicting international spies, is reportedly investigating a case of a Japanese national who it said was detained on suspicion of endangering national security, its foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday, 30 July.
The man, who is believed to be in his late 50s, was due to stay in Beijing between 11 July and 15th, but did not return to Japan. He apparently was not reachable on his mobile phone too, according to Reuters which quoted Japanese Kyodo news agency as saying.
Local media report said that China disclosed the allegation that is often applied in cases of suspected espionage. China's disclosure is reported to have come a day after Japanese government confirmed that the man was held in China since early July, without elaborating.
The man, from Ibaraki Prefecture - bordering the Pacific Ocean northeast of Tokyo - was confirmed as the head of an organisation that is thought to promote friendly exchanges between the two countries. However, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo did not involve in espionage against any country.
According to Japan Times, until his detention, the man was seen a friendly figure in China for a long time for making positive contributions to bilateral relations.
Amid tense relations between the countries over the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, Chinese communist government has tightened control of its already strict security measures to watch over foreign organisations or individuals fearing undercover activities. Under President Xi Jinping's regime, the country has set up new national security commission.
It also passed a counter-espionage law in November 2014 to help build what it then said was a "comprehensive" national security system. The law was designed to allow Beijing to seize or seal any property that it feels were involved in spying on Chinese interests.
Last year, at least two Japanese citizens were arrested on suspicion of espionage. And in 2010, four Japanese nationals were temporarily detained in China after they were suspected to have entered a military zone and for taking photographs without seeking permission.
In a separate case, a Japanese woman has been reportedly indicted in China after being detained in Shanghai last year. She was arrested in November after being detained in June 2015 allegedly for spying, with her trial expected to being shortly, Japan Times reported.