National / Crime & Legal

Employee of Japanese trading house Itochu sentenced to three years in prison in China

Kyodo

An employee of Japanese trading house Itochu Corp., who was detained in China in 2018 on suspicion of harming national security, has been sentenced to three years in prison in the country, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday.

A court in the southern city of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, handed down the sentence to the employee on Oct. 15, according to a source close to Sino-Japanese ties. The Japanese man, who is in his 40s, was detained during a visit to Guangzhou in February 2018.

He also had 150,000 yuan (¥2.32 million; $21,300) confiscated as part of the penalty.

It was not immediately known what he had done in China to be convicted of harming the country’s national security.

Motegi confirmed a news report on the man’s sentencing while speaking to reporters in Tokyo.

Since 2015, at least nine Japanese nationals have been indicted in China for alleged involvement in spying activities. With the sentencing of the Itochu worker, all nine have seen verdicts go against them.