TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Japanese professor from Hokkaido University has been detained by the Chinese government on suspicion of spying after being invited by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) for research assistance.
The professor, who is speculated to be 40-year-old Nobu Iwatani (岩谷將), embarked on a two-week academic exchange in China in September but was taken into custody by Chinese authorities once he arrived at his hotel in Beijing. According to Taro News, the academic had previously been involved with the Japanese Ministry of Defense's National Institute for Defense Studies and was allegedly accused of stealing sensitive information from China.
In a joint statement published on Tuesday (Oct. 29), more than 40 Japanese professors and scholars demanded that the Chinese government disclose the details of the case. The statement read "A Japanese scholar has been detained by the Chinese government during his visit, and the incident has made an impact that words cannot describe," reported CNA.
The statement also said the term "spying" is ambiguous and that specific evidence of the alleged offense needs to be shown. It added that the incident has damaged trust between the Chinese and Japanese academic communities.