August 25, 2006

Japan police arrest 5 over nuclear devices: media

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo police on Friday arrested five
executives from a Japanese company suspected of exporting
devices that could be used in producing nuclear weapons, one of
which was discovered in Libya, Japanese media said.

Mitutoyo Corp., which produces precision measuring
equipment, is suspected of exporting to Malaysia without a
license two devices that could be used in uranium enrichment,
Kyodo news agency said.

Police have been investigating possible export routes from
Japan after a device made by the firm was found at nuclear
facilities in Libya inspected by the International Atomic
Energy Agency between December 2003 and March 2004, media
reports said earlier this year.

Mitutoyo is also suspected of exporting similar equipment
to Iran in 1997, and police have raided an Iranian trading
company in Tokyo in connection with the case, Kyodo said,
citing police sources.

A Tokyo police spokesman said he had no information on the
arrests, and no one answered the phone at Mitutoyo's head
office, but television pictures showed police officers entering
the building.

Japanese police routinely decline to speak to the foreign

The devices were ordered by Scomi Precision Engineering of
Malaysia, Kyodo said, but the company declined to comment.

"The company has made a stand that it will not say
anything," a Scomi spokeswoman told Reuters in Kuala Lumpur.

Mitutoyo, founded in 1934, has some 2,300 employees in
Japan and 2,000 overseas.