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March 05, 2009 

Employees of Japanese Machine Tool Producer Arrested for Alleged Export Control Violations

Various Japanese newspapers have reports that four employees of Japanese machine tools producer Horkos Corp were arrested this week for allegedly violating Japan's export control laws by exporting more than 1,000 sophisticated five-axis machining centers to 16 countries without the required export licenses and falsifying export documents.

The arrests follow a raid conducted by Japanese police on Horkos' headquarters and factory in July 2008 on suspicion that the company had illegally exported dual-use machine tools.

Although Horkos' machining centers exported machines can be used to manufacture automotive components and other commercial items, they can also be used to produce components for centrifuge separation devices for uranium enrichment and are controlled for nonproliferation reasons. As a result, Japan's Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law requires Horkos and other exporters of five-axis grinding machines to obtain an export license from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). (Similar products are classified on the U.S. Commerce Control List under ECCNs 2B001 and 2B201).

The Horkos employees that were arrested were allegedly involved in an effort to evade METI's licensing requirements by declaring on export declarations that Horkos machines did not require export licenses.

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