An employee of an Internet-related company in Tokyo has been arrested for sending e-mail to a major food maker in which he demanded 40 million yen or else he would poison the firm’s products, police officials alleged Monday.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it was the first arrest in a corporate extortion case in which the suspect used e-mail to carry out the crime.

The suspect, Shinpei Ono, 35, of Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, attempted to extort the 40 million yen from Nissin Food Products Co. last month.

Ono used a personal computer in a coffee shop in Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, on May 10 to send a message to Nissin Food, saying he “planned to mix deadly poison in (the) company’s products and have them distributed,” the officials quoted him as saying.

In the e-mail, Ono also urged the company to transfer 40 million yen into a designated bank account.

He later repeated the request on more than 30 occasions by sending similar e-mail to Nissin, as well as by making calls from prepaid cellular phones, which do not require identification to be shown when purchased.

MPD investigators analyzed the e-mail and determined their origin. They then began to monitor the coffee shop and question frequent visitors, the officials said.

Ono was arrested on May 31 after an investigator came upon him just as he was making a call to Nissin on a street near his office in Minato Ward.

Ono has told police that he needed money because of some 30 million yen in housing loans and other debts.