Japan and China Trade Accusations Over Temporary Detention of Japanese Diplomat in Beijing

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Japan and China blamed each other for the recent detention of a Japanese diplomat in Beijing amid growing tensions between the two countries.

On Feb. 23, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had lodged a strong protest over the detention of one of its diplomats in Beijing and demanded an apology. It emphasized that the detention violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that guarantees the immunity of diplomats from civil and criminal jurisdiction of the host nation.

“The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable,” says Article 29 of the convention. “He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom, or dignity.”

The diplomat was seized while carrying out his legitimate duties, according to the ministry. The detention lasted several hours.

On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press conference accused the Japanese diplomat of engaging in activities that were “inconsistent with his capacity” in China. She noted that diplomats have a duty to abide by laws and regulations of the host nation under the convention.

However, the spokeswoman refused a request to specify the so-called inappropriate activities she was referring.

On Feb. 22, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Takeshi Mori summoned Yang Yu, charge d’affaires and China’s interim ambassador in Tokyo, and demanded an apology from China over the incident. He also urged China to prevent recurrence of such situations.

A Japanese ministry official who declined to be named said the diplomat was released later Monday, citing protocol, according to the Associate Press. There was no sign the diplomat was physically abused during the interrogation, the official said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and China’s Foreign Ministry for comment but neither agreed to discuss details.

The relations between the two countries have cooled in the past years over disputed islands, especially after the Chinese communist regime brought a coast guard law into effect in February 2021, which gave the greenlight to use of force if deemed necessary.

Additionally, China’s human rights record and stepped-up efforts to intimidate Taiwan push Japan further away from the communist regime.

As the nearest democracy to Taiwan, about 68 miles away, Japan is deeply concerned about its neighbor’s national security thanks to cultural and historical ties between the two countries.

China’s persistent displays of military might, including air incursions, have posed the biggest threat to the democratic, self-ruled island.

Frank Yue


Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.

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