Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)–Police have arrested the president of a chemical machinery maker and two other people for allegedly exporting a device that may be used to make biological weapons to China without permission.
Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday arrested Masaaki Okawara, 70, president of Ohkawara Kakohki Co., based in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, along with the other two suspects.
The three are suspected of shipping a spray dryer worth 18 million yen from the port of Yokohama to Shanghai in June 2016 without obtaining necessary permission from the trade minister.
The three have denied the allegations, claiming that the export did not violate Japan’s trade restrictions given the performance of the machine, according to company sources.
Spray dryers convert liquid into dry powder instantly. High-performance machines could be used to develop and produce military-use bacterial agents, according to the Tokyo police’s Public Security Bureau.
Japan introduced the export restrictions on spray dryers in 2013.
The product in question was exported to a Shanghai unit of a German company. The machine was used apparently in the production of lithium-ion batteries, informed sources said, adding that export permission could have been granted if applied for.
Ohkawara Kakohki, set up in 1980, established group companies in Shanghai, the neighboring city of Suzhou and Hong Kong in and after 1996. Its sales totaled 3.2 billion yen for the year that ended in March 2019.