TOKYO/SEOUL — North Korea has detained a Japanese tourist accused of breaking the law during a visit to the country and he will be expelled, the North’s official news agency has said.
Tomoyuki Sugimoto, believed to be a videographer from Shiga prefecture in central Japan, was apparently caught filming a military facility in Nampo city, Kyodo news agency and other Japanese media reported on Monday.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said on the weekend the Japanese tourist was detained and investigated for an unspecified crime.
“The relevant institution of the DPRK decided to leniently condone him and expel him from the DPRK on the principle of humanitarianism,” the news agency said, referring to the North by its official name.
It was not clear if Sugimoto had left the country.
Japan’s government said on Monday it was aware of the KCNA report.
“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.
Japanese media reported in early August that a Japanese man had been detained in North Korea, and government officials were trying to gather information on him.
Japan, in addition to demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs, has also sought the return of abductees kidnapped during the 1970s and 1980s.
It has said it will not provide any economic aid to Pyongyang until that issue is resolved and normal diplomatic relations have been established.