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Industrial espionage still continuous despite the end of the cold war

The Japanese police have accused a high-ranking Russian trade official of buying confidential information about Toshiba Company, which can be implemented for military uses, from one of the workers in an electronics subsidiary company.

Yesterday, the police have committed the case to the public prosecutor to launch criminal investigation on it. An official in Tokyo police said that the suspects are a Russian, 35, who works in the office of the Soviet Union commercial attaché in Tokyo, and a Japanese employee, who works in Toshiba on the confidential semi-conductors technology. The latter was fired a week ago for leaking confidential information about the company products.

Kenji Adachi, company spokesman, said that the said employee is accused of selling company secrets to Russian parties 9 times during the period from September 2005 to May 2005, in return for the sum of one million yens (approximately 8700 US dollars). The Japanese News Agency (Kyodo) said that the man sold secrets regarding a type of semi-conductors technology, which can be used in the radar of military submarines, fighter planes and rocket guiding system. Kyodo said that the Russian agent has disguised as an Italian businessman and persuaded the Japanese employee that he would use this information in manufacturing mobile phones, digital cameras and electrical cooking appliances.

This is considered the fifth time since 1989 that the Japanese police investigated on commercial or industrial espionage operations, in which Russian officials are involved. In 1991, some Russian officials sought obtaining semi-conductor chips, which are prohibited to be exported to the former Soviet Union. There was also another Russian attempt to obtain information on the technology of the developed Japanese rockets from a former officer in the Japanese defense department in 2002.

At least one attempt, conducted by a forged company, has succeeded in obtaining developed equipments for turning and polishing metals from Toshiba Company. These equipments were used by the former Soviet Union to decrease the noise resulting from the turning of the driving fans of their nuclear submarines. This made it hard for the NATO surveillance devices to trace them, as they were used to the loud noise made by these Russian submarines while running their engines.

BBC


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