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Archive for June 30th, 2009

Japan arrests three for suspected technology export to Burma

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Japan arrests three for suspected technology export to Burma

by Solomon

Tuesday, 30 June 2009 19:47

New Delhi (mizzima) – A North Korean and two Japanese nationals were arrested by Japanese police for illegally attempting to export magnetic measuring devices to Burma, which can help build missiles, said a Japanese police officer.

Officers from the Kanagawa police station, near Tokyo, told Mizzima on Tuesday that they have detained three businessmen on suspicion of violating the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law.

“One is North Korean and runs an export firm. He tried to export devices, supposed to be used for enriching weapons,” said a police official at the Kanagawa station.

The company has been exporting devices to Burma, the official said and added that “according to Japanese law, export of any device, which could be used for weapons is prohibited. That’s why they were arrested.”

The three businessmen, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, were identified as Lee Kyoung Ho (41), an ethnic Korean resident and president of a trading firm Toko Boeki; Miaki Katsuki (75), president of a manufacturing firm and Yasuhiko Muto (57), president of an export agency.

The police official told Mizzima that the detained businessmen were found illegally transporting devices several times in the past to Burma.

According to the Yomiuri newspaper, the three men were working for a Hong Kong-based North Korean trading firm and were exporting magnetic measuring devices believed to be needed for developing long-range ballistic missile systems on instructions from North Korea.

The three reportedly conspired to export the magnetic measuring device to Burma via Malaysia around January 2009 at a price of about 7 million yen (US $73,000), the report said.

The report added that around September 2008, the firm had also tried to export the same device to Burma’s Ministry for Industry 2, which plays a key role in Burma’s nuclear programme as the Minister is the chairman of the Myanmar Atomic Energy Committee.

But both attempts to export the device were aborted immediately before shipment when Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry notified the company that it had failed to submit an export application, the Japanese newspaper said.

The attempts were based on an order given by the Beijing office of the New East International Trading Ltd, based in Hong Kong. The firm is believed to be under the direct control of the Second Economic Committee of the Pyongyang’s Workers’ Party of Korea, which is responsible for the party’s military procurement.

The arrest of the three men and the exposure of their attempts to export measuring devices come at a time when North Korean is suspected of selling arms and military technology to Burma.

Since 1999, both countries have secretly renewed their relationship and exchanged secret visits by military leaders. But it was only in 2007 that both countries announced a formal renewal of diplomatic relations, which was severed in 1983, following a bomb attack on the visiting South Korean President and his delegates by North Korean agents.

In June 17, a North Korean ship Kang Nam I, reportedly left a North Korean port for Burma and is believed to be carrying weapons, missiles and even parts of nuclear material. A U.S. navy destroyer has been trailing the ship.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm