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Japanese trader raided over NKorea link: reports

world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 13:06 IST

AFP
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Japanese police on Thursday raided a Tokyo trading company suspected of attempting to export to North Korea equipment that can be used to make missiles, reports said.

Public broadcaster NHK said the company, Toko Boeki, was suspected of trying to send the magnetic measuring instruments, which could be used to make missiles, to North Korea via a third country.

The trading house is reportedly linked to the North Korean residents' association in Japan, Chongryon. Police declined to confirm the reports.

Under Japanese law, exports of instruments which can be used to make weapons of mass destruction must be approved by the trade minister.

Japan has intensified pressure on North Korea since Pyongyang tested missiles and a nuclear bomb in 2006.

North Korea said Tuesday that it was preparing to launch a satellite, a move that the United States and its allies believe could be a long-range missile test.

Tokyo's relations with North Korea remain tense particularly over Pyongyang's kidnappings of Japanese civilians in the 1970s and 1980s, a major political issue in Tokyo.

In 2007, Japanese police raided Chongryon buildings in central Tokyo over allegations that an ethnic Korean illegally tried to export medication to the impoverished communist state.

There are 600,000 Koreans in Japan, many of them descendants of forced labourers during the Japanese rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.