TOKYO >> Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it has lodged a strong protest and demanded an apology after its diplomat was detained and questioned by authorities in Beijing.
The diplomat from the Japanese Embassy was seized while on duty and held for several hours on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said.
The diplomat was carrying out his legitimate work and the detention violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which stipulates the immunity of diplomats from civil and criminal jurisdiction of the host nation, the ministry said.
The diplomat, whose name and other details were not disclosed, was released later Monday, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol. There was no sign the diplomat was physically abused while he was being interrogated, the official said.
Vice Foreign Minister Takeshi Mori on Tuesday summoned Yang Yu, charge d’affaires and China’s interim ambassador in Tokyo, demanding China offer an apology and avoid such situations in the future.
In Beijing on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that “China has made a stern complaint with Japan, urging it to respect China’s law, strictly restrain its consular staff in China and prevent such incidents from happening again.”
He said the Japanese diplomat had engaged in activities “inconsistent with their capacity in China” and that the relevant Chinese departments conducted investigations and questioning “in accordance with the law and regulation.” No other details were provided.
Last week, Japan’s government said its national in his 50s had been detained in Shanghai since December over unspecified law violations, but gave no further details.
There have been several other cases of arrests in the past involving Japanese citizens who had businesses or connections with China over allegations including spying, but cases against diplomats or government officials are extremely rare.
In 2002, a Japanese defense attache was held by Chinese authorities for several hours.