The authorities suspect the first secretary conducted espionage on instructions from the division and using his position as a diplomat as a cover.
In early 2008, the diplomat opened a bank account using an alien identification card he obtained when he was a researcher at the University of Tokyo. At the time, he concealed his status as a diplomat.
About 100,000 yen was paid into the account every month as “advisory fees” by a health food company in Tokyo, which planned to do business in China, the sources said.
They said the diplomat became an executive of the company’s affiliated firm in Hong Kong. Several hundred thousand yen, which appears to be remunerations, was also paid into the bank account in 2009.
Under the Vienna Convention’s Article 42, diplomats are prohibited from receiving personal profit as a result of commercial or other activities. The authorities thus suspect the diplomat’s actions constitute a violation of the convention.
According to police authorities, Chinese intelligence agents are paid less than 10,000 yen, in principle, when they contact a high-profile figure overseas. Because of such limited funds, the diplomat might have used the money from the company for his intelligence activities, the authorities said.
In April 2008, he renewed his alien identification card by submitting to a Tokyo ward office documents in which he falsely identified himself as a researcher at the University of Tokyo and listed a false address.
Police authorities have confirmed that after the diplomat arrived in Japan he contacted key Japanese figures, such as senior government officials and prominent business people. The Public Security Bureau plans to expand its probe into people he contacted as it suspects he contacted key figures using his status as a diplomat.
In mid-May the bureau asked the diplomat to present himself for questioning on suspicion of violating the Alien Registration Law.
However, the Chinese Embassy rejected the request last Wednesday. The same day, the diplomat flew from Narita Airport to China.
The Public Security Bureau is working on asking the diplomat to appear again through the Foreign Ministry, the sources said.