Two held over spying at tool firm

Kyodo

Police have arrested two former employees of a Kawasaki-based machine tool maker on suspicion of duplicating confidential blueprints and smuggling them to a Chinese company.

Seiichi Furuya, 48, and Fumiaki Inoue, 57, were taken into custody Wednesday after allegedly copying blueprints belonging to Yoshizuka Seiki Co.

The two are being held on suspicion of breaking the unfair competition prevention law, but police said they are also investigating their actions as a case of potential industrial espionage.

Furuya has already admitted to the allegations but Inoue is continuing to deny any involvement, according to the police.

The Chinese company, a major press maker based in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, was found to have deposited about ¥42 million in Inoue’s bank account, some ¥38 million of which was credited to an account held by Furuya, the police said.

Furuya allegedly accessed the manufacturer’s computer server in November 2009 from a personal computer rented from the company, made multiple copies of blueprints for machines to make auto engine parts and handed them to Inoue, the police said.

Inoue, who headed a section in the machine tool maker’s design department at the time, is suspected of mailing all the blueprints on a CD-ROM to the Chinese company in two packages in January 2010, they said.

Inoue retired from the manufacturer in 2001 and struck a technical tie-up deal with the Chinese firm in 2008, according to the police.

In a similar case, a Chinese national who formerly worked at major machine tool maker Yamazaki Mazak Corp. was arrested this spring and charged with illegally obtaining product information from the firm.