Arms dealers get suspended terms, fines

The Tokyo District Court on Wednesday sentenced two Japanese businessmen to two years in prison, suspended for four years, for illegally shipping parts for antitank rocket launchers to Iran.

Ichiro Takahashi, 63, and Tsuneo Ishida, 67, both former directors of the now-defunct Tokyo-based trading house Sun Beam K.K., were also fined 1.5 million yen each. Prosecutors had demanded two-year jail sentences and fines of 1.5 million yen for both men.

Judge Satoru Hattori said: “The crime was of a nature that could have caused further international strife. It was not just a crime by individuals as it could have undermined Japan’s international credibility.”

He said the two committed the crime to earn a profit even though they knew the deal violated the government’s policy of not exporting weapons.

The two men accepted orders for 3,100 dials used in constructing sighting devices for antitank rocket launchers from state-run Iranian Electronics Industries in April and December 1995, according to the ruling.

The 3,100 dials, worth an estimated 3.5 million yen, were shipped without the international trade and industry minister’s permission, it said.

Sun Beam, run by the two men, went bankrupt in July 1998. The two were arrested in January.