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N. Korean party unit ordered illegal ship export: police.

TOKYO, July 18 Kyodo

(EDS: CHANGING HEADLINE, EXPANDING WITH NEW DEVELOPMENTS)

The alleged illegal export of a secondhand fishing boat from Japan to North Korea in August last year was ordered by a North Korean trading company affiliated with the ruling (North) Korean Workers Party, police and coast guard sources said Wednesday.

Investigations by the Metropolitan Police Department's Public Security Bureau and the Japan Coast Guard have found the company in question is linked to the North Korean party's organ, which plays a central role in covert operations, the sources said.

Investigators have not been able to confirm if the ship was converted for the purpose of the operations, but they suspect North Korea as a nation of attempting to procure ships, the sources said.

In mid-March last year, the North Korean company placed an order with Toa Gijutsu Kogyo, a Japanese trading house based in Kobe, for a 100-200 ton ship, the sources said.

Immediately thereafter, 24 million yen was paid to Toa Gijutsu via a food importer in Tottori Prefecture, which deals with the North Korean company, according to the sources.

An official at the Tottori food importing company said, ''We just made a legitimate payment for cargo services, and it is not our understanding that it was a payment for a fishing boat.''

In April last year, just before the export was made in August, a group of officials from the North Korean trading company visited Toa Gijutsu and the Tottori food importer in Japan, the sources said.

In a related development Wednesday, Kim Ki Min, 52, president of Toa Gijutsu, and Toshikazu Shimada, 54, an executive at the same company, were indicted for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law.

According to the indictment and investigations, Kim and Shimada collaborated with Yun Kyong Jung, 51, a South Korean ship broker based in South Korea, and three others in the illegal export case. The three, along with Yun, have already been indicted.

In August last year, these suspects allegedly arranged to export a secondhand squid-fishing boat from a port in Fukushima Prefecture to North Korea via South Korea without Japanese government authorization, pretending the ship was destined for Indonesia.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Jul 23, 2001
Words:366
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