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China said using detention of Japanese for spying to draw concessions on Senkakus

(Sapio: December 2015 – pp. 36-38)


 By freelance journalist Masaru Soma


 Three Japanese men and one woman were detained on charges of spying in China in May and June. This unprecedented arrest of four Japanese nationals in a short span of two months is extremely unusual. It is highly possible that the Xi Jinping regime is using this as a card to put pressure on Japan. As a matter of fact, this author found out that the Xi leadership had indeed offered the Japanese government to release the “spies” on condition that it agrees to negotiate the issue of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa.


 According to a diplomatic source in Beijing, the Japanese government had been negotiating for the release of the four Japanese after it became aware of their arrest around July. By September, the Chinese authorities served notice that “the Japanese spies can be released if Japan is willing to come to the negotiating table on the Diaoyu Islands (Chinese name for Senkakus) issue.”


 The Japanese government rejected the offer immediately. Therefore, the Chinese side leaked the information to the Japanese media – first reported by Asahi Shimbun in a story filed from Shanghai on Sept. 30 — followed by an announcement by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, purportedly in reaction to Japanese media reports.


 It is reckoned that the Xi leadership will adopt a contradictory policy of resuming dialogue with Japan to improve relations, while using anti-Japan sentiments from the arrest of “Japanese spies” to reinforce its political base from now on.


 Japan should not fall into China’s trap. It should take a firm stand on Chinese spies operating in Japan. (Abridged)

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