On Jan. 17, the Osaka Prefectural Police Department filed criminal papers with prosecutors against a male Chinese national who is a trading company executive (age 41; Kita Ward, Tokyo) and a male official at another company (age 42; Toda City, Saitama) on charges of violating the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (export without approval) by illegally exporting shampoo and other daily goods as well as seasonings and alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey, to North Korea. This was learned through interviews with sources related to the investigation.
Japanese daily goods are prized in North Korea, and the Osaka Prefectural Police think the goods may have been traded at high prices. One of the men apparently testified that the whiskey and other alcoholic beverages “were exported after receiving a request that they be sent in relation to the North Korean anniversary (connected with the late General Secretary Kim Jong Il).”
According to sources related to the investigation, the two men are suspected of conspiring together to illegally export by ship from the Port of Yokohama a total of about 24 million yen worth (export declaration value) of goods, including shampoo, gas stoves, and ketchup, from December 2014 to January 2016 to North Korea by making it appear that the goods were being sent to a company in Dalian, China. During those years, the Japanese government had in place economic sanctions banning exports to North Korea. The two men apparently have admitted to the charges, saying, “The Chinese trading company received orders from North Korean customers, and we received orders from the company.”
The Osaka Prefectural Police are investigating the matter on the suspicion that goods were exported a total of eight times, including the most recent case, between October 2014 and January 2016, and totaled about 60 million yen in export declaration value.
The Japanese government has had in place a total embargo on trade in daily goods with North Korea since June 2009.