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  • Incident Reports | 7 January, 2016 (22:25)

    Japanese reporter detained on China-N. Korea border 

    A Japanese reporter who went to the Sino-North Korean border after North Korea’s recent nuclear test was detained for six hours.

    The reporter went to Jian City in Jilin province on Jan 7. After he checked into a hotel, he was visited by local PSB officials. Officials left the hotel room after a short while, but the next morning, when the reporter checked out of the hotel at 7:30 am, his car was immediately followed by police cars. Around 9 am his car was stopped by 5 police vehicles. He and his driver were taken to the nearby immigration office and questioned.

    An official said: “The road you drove on would lead to North Korea and along the way there are military facilities. If you want to cover the border events ,you need a permission from the authorities.” One added: “Your car is being confiscated as evidence, as are your belongings.”

    The reporter and the driver were questioned separately for 6 hours and released at 3:30 p.m. on Jan 8. The questions mainly were along the lines of “Why did you come here?” “What did you do exactly?” and “Whose instructions are you following?”

    After the questioning, the reporters’  car and the belongings were returned. The reporter was told that there were several other Japanese reporters detained in Jilin province, along with a British one.

    Meanwhile, the reporter’s bureau chief in Beijing contacted the Foreign Ministry, seeking help. Later, he was told by a Foreign Ministry official: “Your people got detained because they tried to enter a military area, local police say.”

    The reporter has been detained in Jilin previously, but for a much shorter time — less than 30 minutes. This time was much longer, and he had the impression that police were more aggressive and that he could be arrested.

    When the reporter suggested that he might call the Japanese Embassy or Foreign Ministry, the police said: “Go ahead. It’s no problem at all.” Previously, their typical attitude in such a situation was more along the lines of: “We don’t want any trouble.You can go now. Pack up and leave.”