China court finalizes 12-year sentence for Japanese man charged with espionage

A Chinese high court has finalized a 12-year prison sentence for a Japanese man charged with espionage under China's two-tier judicial system.

Japanese government sources say the high court in Hunan Province dismissed the man's appeal, upholding a lower court's decision.

The man in his 50s was detained in 2019 in Changsha in the province. The lower court found him guilty and sentenced him in February this year.

Chinese authorities have detained at least 17 Japanese nationals on suspicion of involvement in spying and other activities since 2015, a year after Beijing put an anti-espionage law into effect.

Among those charged is an employee of a major Japanese drug manufacturer living in China. He was arrested in October after being detained for more than six months without any detailed explanation.

The sentences for ten of them have been finalized. However, after their court proceedings, it remains unclear why they were detained, or what actions they had taken were considered criminal.

Plans are being adjusted in Tokyo and Beijing to set up a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC summit scheduled to begin on Wednesday in San Francisco.

If the meeting is held, one of the key issues the two leaders are expected to focus on is China's recent detentions of Japanese nationals.