November 25, 2003

Chinese authorities have released a resident of Japan who had been detained for her activities in the Falun Gong spiritual movement, Japanese diplomats in Beijing said Monday.

According to the Japanese Embassy, Luo Rong, 39, was sentenced to labor re-education for about 1 1/2 years after she was arrested May 24, 2002, in Beijing along with two Japanese while passing out Falun Gong leaflets to passersby. The spiritual movement is outlawed in China.

Luo, whose Japanese name is Yoko Kaneko, is a resident of Hamochi, Niigata Prefecture.

Embassy officials said Luo was released Sunday after completing her sentence.

They said she was in good health when she visited the embassy later Sunday, and was preparing to leave Beijing.

Her 48-year-old husband, Atsushi Kaneko, who has been in China seeking her release, said he is looking forward to returning to Japan with her.