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Japanese foreign minister urges China to release detainees

BEIJING/TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa met with China’s Foreign Minister on Sunday (April 2) to urge China to release the Japanese detained as soon as possible.

The Hayashi meeting with Jin Kang was the first visit to Beijing for the Japanese foreign minister in more than three years.

An employee of Astellas Pharma Inc has been detained in China for unknown reasons, a company spokesperson said a week ago. According to Kyodo News, at least 16 other Japanese people have been detained in China since 2015 on charges of espionage.

“We protested against the recent detention of Japanese nationals in Beijing and strongly asserted our position on this issue, including the early release of these nationals,” Hayashi told reporters.

According to a reading from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qin replied that China would “handle (the case) according to the law.”

Hayashi said Japan was seeking transparency about the legal process involved in the detention and asked China to ensure a fair and safe business environment. He did not elaborate on China’s response.

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