Tomoyuki Sugimoto, who has recently visited North Korea as a tourist, was detained after allegedly trying to videotape some military sites during a visit to the city of Nampo, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The Japanese government has reportedly been in talks with Pyongyang on the release of the national. The two neighboring states have no diplomatic relations. However, recently Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Tokyo was ready for a new dialogue with North Korea.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has significantly improved over the last months after Kim held several rounds of talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in and participated in a summit with US President Trump in Singapore. During the June 12 summit, Kim and Trump reached an agreement that required Pyongyang to denuclearize in exchange for a freeze on the US-South Korean military drills and eventual sanctions relief.
A number of Japanese citizens were abducted by North Korean agents during a six-year period from 1983 to 1997. The issue of the kidnapped Japanese citizens remains unresolved today and continues to be a key roadblock in bilateral relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang.