Tokyo has lodged a protest with the Chinese Foreign Ministry for barring a reporter with the conservative Sankei Shimbun daily from participating in pool coverage of a high-ranking bilateral meeting in Beijing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's exclusion of the reporter from the Sankei, which is often critical of China, is "extremely regrettable," and runs counter to Tokyo's stance that "basic human rights, including freedom of expression, and the rule of law are universal values shared by the international community," Suga said.

"Those values must be guaranteed in any country," he added.