TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese man detained in China this month is a senior official of Astellas Pharma Inc, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday citing a company spokesperson.

The company did not disclose details of the official but its spokesperson said it was seeking information through Japan’s foreign ministry, the news agency said.

Reuters was not able to reach a spokesperson for the Japanese company.

Kyodo and other Japanese media reported on Saturday that a Japanese man in his 50s was taken into custody in Beijing this month for an alleged violation of Chinese law.

But China had not fully explained as what prompted authorites in Beijing to detain the man, the media said.

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The Japanese government had asked Chinese authorities to release the man, media reported.

At least 16 Japanese nationals, not counting this case, have been detained in China on suspicion of engaging in spying activities since 2015, according to Kyodo.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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