• Kyodo

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The first trial hearing of a Japanese detained last year by China for alleged involvement in espionage appears to have been held Thursday, a Japanese government source said.

China told the Japanese side in advance that the closed-door hearing for the Sapporo man would be held in a Beijing court on Thursday, according to the source.

The man’s indictment in October was learned last month, but the charges he faces and other details of the case remain unknown.

Chinese authorities detained the man during a stay in Beijing in June last year and later formally arrested him on suspicion of endangering national security.

He is one of the four Japanese who were separately detained by Chinese authorities between May and June 2015 on suspicion of engaging in spying.

The hearings of the three others have already started, according to the source.

In addition to the four indicted individuals, a Japanese man who headed an organization to promote friendly ties between the two countries was detained, also on suspicion of endangering national security, in July this year.

Besides them, a number of other foreign nationals have been held in China since a counterespionage law took effect in 2014.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power four years ago, the government has been stepping up its watch over foreign organizations and individuals in the name of national security.

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