China frees Japanese academic as Tokyo prepares for Xi visit

16 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

TOKYO: A Japanese academic returned home on Friday after being released by China following several weeks in detention, a move expected to help pave the way for a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Japan next year, reports Reuters.

The professor at Hokkaido University, who is in his forties but was not identified, is in good health, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

The professor was detained by Chinese authorities on suspicion of violating an unspecified Chinese law. Japanese media said he was believed to have been accused of espionage.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang confirmed in Beijing that the academic had been sent back home. He said he had been “educated and admonished” for being found with documents containing Chinese state secrets in his hotel room.