Jun 25, 2007

Japanese court sentences 4 ex-Mitutoyo officials for illegal exports nuclear measuring devices

Case proven in Japan, but not in Malaysia?.
Pelik tapi Benar!

(AP News) A Japanese court handed down suspended sentences to four ex-employees of Japanese precision equipment maker Mitutoyo Corp. on Monday for illegally exporting measuring devices that can be used in producing nuclear weapons.

Former Mitutoyo Chairman Norio Takatsuji was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, and former President Kazusaku Tezuka to three years, a Tokyo District Court spokeswoman said.

Their sentences were suspended for five years each, said the spokeswoman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

Two other officials _ former managing director and export controls and inspections chief Hideyo Chikugo and former factory director Tetsuo Kimura _ also received suspended sentences, she said. Chikugo was sentenced to two years and four months, while Kimura was sentenced to two years. Both sentences were suspended for four years, she said.

The four men have admitted to the charges against them. They were arrested in August 2006 for violating foreign exchange and customs laws.

They exported five of their devices to a subsidiary in Malaysia via Singapore between October 2001 and July 2005 without obtaining government permission.

In Monday's ruling, the Kawasaki-based company was ordered to pay a fine of 45 million yen (US$363,000; 270,000Yen), the court spokeswoman said.

Mitutoyo admitted in November 2006 that it had broken the law in the case, which involved the export of three-dimensional measuring devices.

The devices measure cylinders with great precision and can be used on centrifuges employed in uranium enrichment, a process that can produce civilian nuclear fuel or fissile material for a nuclear weapon, government officials say.

Though Malaysia is not on Japan's export blacklist, Japanese laws still require companies to receive government authorization for sensitive exports valued at more than US$8,500 (6,858), regardless of the country.

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