Following a sharp rise in the number of illegal immigrants from China, Tokyo urged Beijing on Feb. 13 to tighten measures to stop more arriving in Japan. Ryozo Kato, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Bureau, told Minister Wu Dawei of the Chinese Embassy that the huge numbers of illegal immigrants is creating social problems and could hamper friendly relations between the two nations, the officials said.

Kato told Wu that the central and local governments in China should cooperate in stepping up coastal patrols and tightening control over ships leaving Chinese ports, according to the ministry officials. In December, 248 illegal Chinese immigrants were detained in Japan, and another 330 were apprehended in 16 cases from Jan. 1 and to Feb. 4, they said.

Kato told Wu that the Chinese government should strengthen its crackdown on Chinese brokers who help smuggle such immigrants and that Beijing could provide more information, the officials said. Chinese brokers, such as those known as Snakeheads, are allegedly acting in collusion with Japanese crime syndicates.

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