National / Crime & Legal

Japanese politician arrested in China for drug possession

Kyodo

Police in Guangdong province, China, have formally arrested a 70-year-old municipal assembly member from Aichi Prefecture for allegedly possessing illegal drugs, local officials said Monday.

Takuma Sakuragi, a member of the Inazawa Municipal Assembly, was taken into custody at Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport on Oct. 31 after 3 kg of crystal methamphetamine was found hidden in his suitcase when he was passing through the security check on his way back to Japan, a statement by officials said.

It said Sakuragi together with other foreigners are suspected of plotting to smuggle the drugs into Japan. Two other suspects were taken into custody Nov. 18 and 19.

Staff in the local prosecutor office’s propaganda section declined to reveal the identities of the other suspects, only confirming that they are not Japanese nationals.

According to previous news reports, Sakuragi traveled to Guangzhou on Oct. 29 on business for a trading company he owns, and there had business dealings with a Nigerian man from whom he received the suitcase in which the drugs were found. Sakuragi has reportedly maintained his innocence.

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