World Bulletin / News Desk
The man in his 30s, identified as Tomoyuki Sugimoto, confirmed his identity to a Kyodo News reporter while traveling on a plane from Pyongyang to Beijing Tuesday morning.
Japanese media outlets revealed Sugimoto’s arrest by North Korean authorities in mid-August. Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency last Saturday announced his release “on the principle of humanitarianism”.
The KCNA dispatch explained that the man had visited the North as a tourist, but was suspected of breaking the law before being handled “leniently” and expelled.
It is not clear what Sugimoto was accused of, but outside reports suggest he is a video creator from Shiga Prefecture.
Amid greatly eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang also released three American prisoners in May, as well as a South Korean detainee this month.
However, Tokyo has its own desire for dialogue beyond regional security, as it seeks to fully resolve the kidnapping of its citizens by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s.