Chinese public security officials denied that the Asahi Shimbun reporter was assaulted by police in a demonstration in Qidong last month after their investigation found no evidence.

Atsushi Okudera, Asahi Shimbun’s Shanghai-based correspondent, was covering the protest against Japanese company Oji Paper Co. in the Qidong district of Nantong, Jiangsu province when he was reportedly surrounded by 15 to 20 police officers who kicked him to the ground. His camera and press ID were apparently seized, leaving Okudera with head and back injuries. The Asahi Shimbun lodged a protest with the Chinese government over the assault while Okudera filed a complaint.

Officials told Okudera that they “found no such incident (assault) took place” and said that they had not found Okudera’s camera. “We will reopen the investigation if there is new evidence,” officials added.

Asahi Shimbun international news editor Tsutomu Watanabe said:  “In no way can we accept investigation results denying the assaults on Okudera ever took place”. The Asahi Shimbun stated that a local resident witnessed the incident and will file another protest with the Chinese government for the “elucidation of the truth”.