Restricted Japanese devices found in Libya nuclear facility

The government is investigating the discovery of restricted Japanese precision instruments in a nuclear facility in Libya, sources said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency found the instruments, which can be exported only under strict control, during inspections between December and March that followed the declaration by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to give up all of the country’s weapons of mass destruction, they said.

The instruments are typically used to precisely measure the size and three-dimensional shape of machinery parts. It is made by a manufacturer based in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, they said.

The sources said that Japan’s foreign and trade ministries and the National Police Agency have sent a joint investigative team to the United States.

The Metropolitan Police Department is also planning to investigate the case because the instruments’ export might have violated the foreign exchange law’s export control regime, they said.

Libya apparently imported the instruments to control centrifuge rotors for enriching uranium for nuclear weapons, they said.

IAEA inspectors found the instruments along with other unregulated Japanese products in a wooden box that had a label reading “Made in Japan,” they said. Some of the devices have been sent to the U.S., where they have been put under its control to prevent their use in developing nuclear weapons, they said.