The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) disclosed at the April 2 House of Representatives foreign affairs committee meeting that 282 locally hired Chinese are employed at the Japanese Embassy in China, and that 110 of the 282 are engaged in visa issuance. China requires its citizens to cooperate in Chinese government intelligence activities based on its national intelligence law, and there is the possibility that the personal information of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is being leaked to Chinese authorities.
MOFA also revealed that locally hired staff are registered with a state-owned enterprise affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The above was part of MOFA’s response to a question by Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) Shiori Yamao.
MOFA Deputy Vice-Minister Hiroshi Ishikawa emphasized that “all efforts are made to inspect the confidential information protection system, including intelligence protection.” Ishikawa did not indicate whether Chinese staff are required to maintain confidentiality.
Yamao said that “[information on] people at risk of human rights violation, such as the Uyghurs, is sensitive information, and information that the Chinese government wants.” Yamao called for a review of locally hired staff’s duties, noting that “even if the staff members sign a confidentiality agreement, [Japan] should assume that [staff members’] obligations under the national intelligence law override the agreement.” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said that “[Yamao’s comments are] important to note,” and that he would like to “examine what response should be taken.”