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February 12, 2008 

Machine Tools Producer Installs Relocation Detectors to Ensure Export Controls Compliance

In what could be the wave of the future in export compliance by producers of export controlled products, Mazak Corporation, the North American manufacturing, sales and support arm of Japan-based Yamazaki Mazak Corporation recently announced that it has begun installing relocation detectors on all of its products to prevent the unauthorized export of the products to unauthorized destinations and to comply with U.S. and Japanese export control laws.

According to the company, the relocation detector is a permanent device that resides in the electrical cabinet of the machine. The device will signal an alarm and completely shut down the machine upon any repositioning and/or relocation of the machine. A new password is required each time a machine is relocated to verify the location. While the technology to do this has been available for some time, this is the first implementation designed to prevent violation of U.S. and Japanese export laws.

The initiative to include relocation detectors on its products was launched by Mr. Tomohisa Yamazaki, president of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation, and will apply to every machine shipped by any Mazak plant to any location throughout the world.

During the past few years,
a number of Japanese companies have been involved in export control violations. For example, in 2006 Japanese precision measurement instrument maker Mitutoyo Corporation admitted that it violated Japan's Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Acts in exporting sophisticated measuring devices that can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

In mid-2007, a Japanese court sentenced four former Mitutoyo executives to multi-year jail sentences and fined the company ¥45 million (approximately US$350,000). Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) subsequently imposed a two-phased, three-year export penalty on Mitutoyo. The first phase of the penalty prohibited Mitutoyo from exporting any products for six months (until January 3, 2008). In addition to the six-month ban on all exports, Mitutoyo remains prohibited from exporting Computer Numerical Control (CNC) coordinate measuring machines and their components for a further period of two years and six months (except for direct exports to specified end users).

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That's unfortunate for Mitutoyo. At least we can be sure that the Japanese court enforces their rules.

Greets feed in tariff consultant

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