• Kyodo

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Chinese authorities have been holding a male employee of major Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. in connection with espionage allegations for about a year, sources familiar with the case said Thursday.

The employee, who is in his 40s, was detained by state security authorities during a visit to Guangzhou, a port city in Guangdong province, in February last year on suspicion of harming Chinese security, the sources said.

He has been tried but a ruling has not been issued, according to the sources. What exactly he was tried for is unclear.

The Japanese consulate-general in Guangzhou said it is in the process of ascertaining the facts of the case.

A handful of Japanese nationals have been detained and indicted in China over espionage in recent years, some of whom were sentenced last year to prison terms.

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