TOKYO — China is holding four Japanese men on suspicion of smuggling drugs, an offence punishable by death, a Japanese government official said Monday.
The men were detained in the northeast of the country on June 19, the official said.
"Public security authorities of Liaoning province notified the Consulate-General of Japan in Shenyang that they detained four Japanese nationals on suspicion of drug smuggling," the official added.
The four men looked fine when Japanese government officials met them, said the foreign ministry official charged with looking after the welfare of Japanese nationals abroad. He declined to disclose further details.
Authorities have been questioning the four and will arrest them formally once they have gathered sufficient evidence, the official said.
Jiji Press news agency said three of the men were aged in their 30s and the fourth is his 60s.
China executed four Japanese men in April for drug smuggling, the first Japanese citizens to be put to death in China since diplomatic ties were re-established in 1972.
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada at the time described the move as "regrettable" but acknowledged that "each country has its own laws and judicial system" and called for a calm response.
Jul 4, 2010
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