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June 25, 2007 

Mitutoyo Corporation and Executives Sentenced for Violating Japan's Export Control Laws

The Japan Times reports that four former executives of Mitutoyo Corporation, a Japanese producer of sophisticated measuring devices, were sentenced on Monday to suspended prison for their role in exporting measuring devices to Malaysia and Singapore without obtaining export licenses from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Mitutoyo Corporation was fined 45 million Yen (approximately US$363,000). The article states that:

The presiding judge, Masahiro Hiraki, said in the ruling that the executives made profit their top priority at the Kanagawa Prefecture-based company, even though they were aware its products might be used by foreign governments to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The article also notes that:
According to prosecutors, an inspection team from the International Atomic Energy Agency came across a Mitutoyo device at a nuclear-related facility in Libya in 2003. Japanese investigators earlier said this was proof that some of the firm's exported devices were sold on the black market, adding that there was a possibility the devices may have been obtained by countries like Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs.

The judge in the case issued the suspended sentences on "grounds that the accused had repented for their actions and quit the company."

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