Japanese man expelled by North Korea arrives in China


A Japanese man arrived in China on Monday after North Korea expelled him for allegedly breaking the law during a visit there, Kyodo news agency said, citing a Japanese diplomatic source.

North Korea had decided to expel the tourist, who had been detained and investigated for an unspecified crime, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said at the weekend.

"There are various procedures to complete till his return to Japan," Kyodo quoted a Japanese government source as saying. The man was expected to return home soon, the agency added.

Tomoyuki Sugimoto, who is believed to be a videographer from the prefecture of Shiga in central Japan, had apparently been caught filming a military facility in Nampo city, Kyodo and other Japanese media have said.

"The relevant institution of the DPRK decided to leniently condone him and expel him from the DPRK on the principle of humanitarianism," KCNA said in its weekend report, using an abbreviation of the North's official name.

Earlier on Monday, Japan said it was aware of the KCNA item.

"The government is putting in all its effort, but we refrain from commenting on details due to the nature of the issue," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

In Bejing, when asked if she could confirm the man had arrived in China, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said she had "no understanding" of the case.

In early August, Japanese media said government officials were trying to gather information on a man who had been detained in North Korea.

Japan has demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programmes and has also sought the return of citizens kidnapped by the isolated state during the 1970s and 1980s.

It has said it will not provide economic aid to Pyongyang until that issue is resolved and normal diplomatic ties established.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

How can Japanese enter? I lost about $1500.

You made a $1500 donation to one of the cruelest regimes on earth. Personally, I think tourism helps support these monsters. There are plenty of nice places in the world where your tourist money actually helps the locals.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

He broke the law by being there in the first place. If he was from anywhere but U.S. and Japan, he would get the full tour of actors portraying citizens.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Should be happy he just got out as he did. I'm surprised they didn't keep him, and I have no doubt their grounds for arrest were zero to begin with.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

If he checks out ok medically then he did better than some others.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The state-run KCNA news said North Korea had expelled Tomoyuki Sugimoto on humanitarian grounds after detaining him...

Which is code for an "unwelcome guest" that's lacking in sufficient value to the North Koreans either: politically, economically, militarily, or just plain physically to work in the coal and/or uranium mines nearby Pyongsan or Pakchon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Definate lack of common sense.

Years ago I was warned (by government, tourist boards, travel information etc. etc.) when visiting a foriegn country, do not go filming around military bases and other sensitive installations. It can so easily be misunderstood.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I thought they were stealing Nihonjin, not giving them back.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I had a NkVisa and flew to China to take the train. I was refused entry because I was a foreigner studying in japan at a Japanese school. How can Japanese enter? I lost about $1500.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It was a Koryo tours that got most of the money. Money went to them. Flights to ANA. NK Visa was very cheap. Still want to go to the mass games.maybe impossible. But on the positive side, I got to go to China and had a great experience.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I am angry by this story. Sugimoto-san was just a cameraman, not spy. So, DPRK has no right to arrest and expel him. I want big investment and co-operation of Japan and DPRK, and PM Abe wants that big Summit with Kim-san. but this human rights violations is not making things easier for diplomacy between the 2 Nations.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Tomoyuki Sugimoto must be a good friend of President Trump.

That the DPRK caught him spying on their military facility in Nampo but then released him on humanitarian grounds speaks volumes of the power and influence of Donald on Kim.

Jung Un must be a very happy man now knowing that the almighty POTUS accorded him red carpet treatment in Singapore, shook his hands heartily and even took selfies with him while Washington barred the democratically elected president of US 'ally' ROC- Taiwan from even taking a selfie outside that famous 'toilet ' at Trump Tower!

Indeed, America is great again!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

He's probably overstayed his Chinese visa thus committed a crime there as well, lock him like they do in Japan to foreigners who overstay.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites