A Chinese court has sentenced a Japanese man who was detained some two years ago on charges of spying to 5½ years in prison, sources have said.

The court in the city of Yantai, in the eastern province of Shandong, also ordered the seizure of 30,000 yuan (about ¥480,000) of the man’s personal assets after he was convicted of stealing Chinese state secrets and providing them to an overseas organization, according to the sources.

The man in his 70s, who is an official of Chiba Prefecture-based NC Geophysical Survey Co., was detained in March 2017 while he was conducting a geological survey for hot-spring development in Shandong along with his colleagues.

A Chinese newspaper had reported that the man was in possession of a massive amount of confidential material, including maps.

Six Japanese men involved in hot-spring development were detained in March 2017 in Shandong and the southern Chinese province of Hainan. Four of the six were released later that year.

At least nine Japanese nationals are currently detained in China for suspected involvement in espionage or other charges. The man in his 70s is the sixth to face a verdict.

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