North Korea has expelled a Japanese man detained for allegedly breaking the law during a recent tour of the country, state-run media and a diplomatic source in Japan said as the two neighbors continue their hot-and-cold relationship.

In a terse two-line statement released late Sunday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Japanese national Tomoyuki Sugimoto was freed on humanitarian grounds after he was detained for breaking an unspecified law while visiting the country.

The diplomatic source, quoted Monday by Kyodo News, confirmed Sugimoto's release and said he had been deported to China, where Japanese officials were questioning him and conducting a health check.