Two Japanese men were being held in China on a charge of espionage, Kyodo News agency reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed Japanese government official.
They have apparently been in custody for several months.
Authorities in China were “making an excuse to link [the two] to suspected espionage,” the official was quoted by Kyodo as saying.
One was held by authorities in Zhejiang Province, Kyodo quoted a diplomatic source as saying. He was detained near a military facility in May, news outlet Jiji reported.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment.
China has been stepping up its watch over foreign organizations and individuals and a new counterespionage law came into force in November, Kyodo said.