A 12-year prison term of a Japanese man facing espionage allegations in China has been finalized after a high court dismissed his appeal earlier this month, a Japanese government source said Saturday.

The man's case has been among a series of incidents in which Japanese citizens have been detained for alleged involvement in spying activities. Most recently, an employee of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma Inc. was formally arrested in October.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese President Xi Jinping could discuss detentions involving Japanese citizens if their talks are realized on the sidelines of a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders in San Francisco next week.

The Japanese man, in his 50s, was engaging in a nursing care job in China. After being detained in July 2019, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a district court in central China's Hunan Province in February this year. He had appealed the ruling.

Photo taken in August 2023 shows security personnel keeping guard outside the Japanese Embassy in Beijing. (Kyodo)

According to the source, the man is objecting to the high court ruling, which claimed that his spying activities had harmed China's national security. His individual assets have not been seized.

The Japanese Embassy in China has not found any health issues with the man during interviews between him and embassy staff and plans to provide him with the necessary support.

China has been stepping up its scrutiny of foreign organizations and individuals in the name of protecting national security, with a number of foreigners detained, particularly in the wake of a counterespionage law that took effect in 2014 and a national security law in 2015.

A total of 17 Japanese citizens have since been detained in China. Of them, 10 nationals, including the man in his 50s, have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years.

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