As a 23-year-old from Hong Kong faces charges at home over social media posts she made while studying in Japan, activists are urging Tokyo to speak up to defend human rights. But political realities mean any steps will have limited impact.

Yuen Ching-ting is facing charges of sedition over social media posts allegedly backing Hong Kong’s independence — with most of the statements made while she was in Japan, news reports have said. She was arrested in March after returning to Hong Kong to renew her identity card, just a day before she had been set to return to Japan, according to the South China Morning Post.

In response to a question about the student’s case at a Tuesday news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Japan has been cooperating with other nations to urge authorities in Hong Kong to ensure that freedom of speech and the press is protected.