New Japanese Ambassador to China Kenji Kanasugi met Tuesday with a compatriot who has been detained in Beijing on suspicion of espionage for the first time since the envoy assumed duties last month, a Japanese government source said.

Kanasugi's move followed a meeting in November between his predecessor Hideo Tarumi and the man, a senior Astellas Pharma employee. The latest meeting was believed to show the new ambassador's resolve to secure the early release of the citizen.

It was the 10th instance of consular access granted to the man, and an accompanying medical officer confirmed he had no health issues, according to the source.