China Holds Two More Japanese on Spying Suspicion, Mainichi Says

Two more Japanese citizens are being held by the Chinese government on suspicion of espionage, bringing the total to four, the Mainichi newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A Japanese woman in her 50s was detained in Shanghai in June while a man in his 60s was held in Beijing, the newspaper reported Sunday.

The woman, who may have worked at a language school in Tokyo, may have relatives in China, the report said. The man is retired from a large company, it said. The Mainichi report provided no further details on the reason for the detentions.

The detentions threaten to further damage ties between Asia’s two largest economies, which are already strained by a territorial dispute over a chain of uninhabited islands close to Taiwan.

On Sept. 30, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said two Japanese citizens were being held in China on suspicion of espionage.

A call to Japan’s ministry of foreign affairs on Sunday during non-working hours seeking comment wasn’t answered.

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