Assemblyman held in China over drug haul


A local politician from Aichi Prefecture is being detained in China on suspicion of possessing 3 kg of stimulant drugs, the Inazawa Municipal Government said Friday.

Takuma Sakuragi, 70, a member of the Inazawa Municipal Assembly, was taken into police custody at Guangzhou’s Baiyun airport on Oct. 31 after the illegal drugs were allegedly found in his suitcase during a customs check on his way back to Japan, according to the Foreign Ministry, which informed Inazawa officials of his arrest.

Sakuragi landed in China on Oct. 29, apparently to conduct business related to his trading company. The politician, now in his fifth term, denied the charges.

The ministry says drug smugglers caught in China can face the death penalty. In 2010, China executed four Japanese on the charge.

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