The problem is that a federated query where the text in the SERVICE pattern contained japanese text would not give a result. While the same pattern with the japanese text replaced by english text worked. Suggesting an encoding issue when sending the data to the external sparql endpoint. I got this to work by adding a line of code in the following sesame class. org.openrdf.repository.sparql.query.SPARQLQuery Just after the new PostMethod is instantiated one needs to set the following content parameters HttpMethodParams.HTTP_CONTENT_CHARSET, "utf-8" HttpMethodParams.HTTP_URI_CHARSET, "utf-8" Like this.
This issue of not properly encoding both the content and the uri might be more widespread.