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Japan’s Foreign Minister Calls for Release of China’s Imprisoned National

Hayashi voiced a complaint against the recent imprisonment of a Japanese citizen in Beijing

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CHINA: Yoshimasa Hayashi of Japan and Qin Gang of China met on Sunday to discuss the release of a Japanese national held in custody. This marked Hayashi’s return to Beijing after three years, as the two countries look for common ground amid regional unrest.

A week ago, a corporate representative disclosed that a member of staff from Astellas Pharma Inc. (4503.T) was held in China for an unspecified reason. Since 2015, at least 16 additional Japanese nationals have been imprisoned in China on spying suspicions.

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Hayashi voiced a complaint against the recent imprisonment of a Japanese citizen in Beijing, and the Chinese foreign ministry responded that China would handle the situation according to the law. 

China has been tasked with creating a fair and secure business climate, while Japan is seeking openness regarding the legal procedure. Hayashi made no further comments.

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Japan expressed its concerns about Chinese military activity, especially its close ties to Russia and presence in the East China Sea, and the two sides agreed on the importance of maintaining a conversation on national security.

Keeping the Taiwan Strait peaceful and stable is crucial, according to Hayashi, who claimed he discussed it with Qin. According to Beijing, Qin cautioned Japan “not to meddle in the Taiwan issue or undermine China’s sovereignty in any way,” emphasising that Taiwan is “the centre of China’s vital interests.”

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Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory, has been the source of increasing tension. Beijing’s claims are rejected by Taipei’s democratically elected administration, and Japan filed a diplomatic grievance in August when five ballistic missiles fired by the Chinese military landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. 

On Friday, Japan put export restrictions on semiconductor manufacturing equipment to prevent China from producing sophisticated semiconductors, consistent with previous policies taken by the US and the Netherlands.

Hayashi and Qin agreed to resume trilateral negotiations with South Korea and maintain close communication on a variety of levels. The first bilateral summit in nearly three years took place in November when Xi Jinping and Kishida met outside of APEC.

Also Read: Japan Limits Export of Chipmaking Machinery in Line with US and Chinese Restrictions

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