China detained local employee of Japanese metals firm, Nikkei reports

23rd October 2023

By: Bloomberg


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The Chinese government detained a local employee of a Japanese metals trading company in March, the Nikkei newspaper reported Sunday, citing unidentified people familiar with relations between the two countries.

The Japanese firm deals in non-ferrous metals including rare earths, according to the Nikkei. There is no clarity on why the person was held, but an employee of a Chinese state-owned enterprise that processes and sells such metals was also detained, the report said.

The two were both in charge of trading rare metals, the Nikkei reported. China is a major source of rare earths, accounting for much of global mining and processing.

China revised its anti-espionage law earlier this year. There has been a series of cases and police investigations in China in 2023 of foreign firms and their staff which have sparked concern from the business community.

A Japanese pharmaceutical executive was also detained in March and formally arrested last week, and the government launched a nationwide anti-espionage crackdown on consulting firms in May, according to state media.

Edited by Bloomberg


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