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China executes Japanese national over drug charges

BEIJING -- China on Friday executed a Japanese man for drug offenses, according to Tokyo's diplomats and media reports.

“Our office in Dalian was informed this morning that the Intermediate Court of Dalian had executed a condemned Japanese,” a Japanese embassy official in Beijing, who declined to be named, told AFP.

He said the case “was related to drugs,” without elaborating, and declined to identify the individual, citing reasons of privacy.

A court official in Dalian, a port city in the northeastern province of Liaoning, declined to comment to AFP.

Japan's Jiji Press news agency said Friday's execution, of a man in his 50s, was the fifth of a Japanese citizen in China in recent years, after four were put to death for drug smuggling in 2010.

That was Beijing's first use of the death penalty against Japanese nationals since the two countries normalized ties in 1972.

“What penalties should be imposed for what crimes is a domestic matter for (China),” Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Friday.

But he added: “Japan has told China that we have a high level of interest in a Japanese national's execution in the country.”

Tensions between the two countries are high over a series of issues including wartime history and disputed islands in the East China Sea.

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