A Japanese city assembly member is being detained in China on suspicion of possessing stimulant drugs while at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, Japan Broadcasting Corporation reports.
Assemblyman Takuma Sakuragi, 70, of Aichi Prefecture, reportedly left for China on Oct. 29 for a business trip, and was taken into custody by Chinese authorities on Oct. 31 at the airport.
Japanese Foreign ministry officials said Chinese authorities told them Sakuragi had about 3 kilograms (more than 6 pounds) of illegal drugs — the specific drug was not named — in his suitcase, allegedly found during a customs check on his way back to Japan, according to Japan Times.
“At present, the local authorities are going through legal procedures to put him on trial,” a Japanese official told South China Morning Post. Sakuragi has denied the charges, according to NHK.
South China Morning Post has more:
Japanese media quoted a long-time associate of Sakuragi as saying the five-term city politician may have been framed due to his hard-line stance on diplomacy with neighbours China and South Korea.
Tokyo is embroiled in separate territorial rows with Beijing and Seoul, which routinely accuse Japan of failing to atone for its military aggression during the first half of the 20th century.
China carries out harsh sentences for drug smugglers. In 2010, four Japanese citizens were executed in China on drug smuggling charges, according to Japan Times.
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