Tokyo to raise issue of tourist arrests in HK with China

Riot police pin down a protester trying to flee Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (AP pic)

TOKYO: A Japanese tourist in his 20s was arrested near the besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic University that has become a flashpoint between police and protesters, with Tokyo looking to raise its concerns about the unrest with China.

The man, whose name was not released, was taken into custody Sunday and is in good health, Japan’s chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The arrest is the second one of a Japanese national in Hong Kong in recent months, public broadcaster NHK said.

A two-day siege at the university has transfixed Hong Kong, raising fears of a crackdown on scores of protesters who remain trapped in a campus surrounded by police.

About 100 people were still barricaded inside the university on Tuesday morning after hundreds others either escaped overnight or were evacuated following negotiations involving political figures, the South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong siege persists as hundreds evacuated

Japan is concerned about the unrest in the city and looking to raise the issue with the Chinese delegation at a Group of 20 meeting of foreign ministers it will host this weekend in Nagoya, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a news briefing Tuesday.

About 26,000 Japanese live in Hong Kong, according to the Japanese consulate.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been working to repair ties with China, Japan’s top trading partner, and looking to host President Xi Jinping for a state visit in the first half of next year.