• Kyodo News


Yamaha Motor Co. has been barred from exporting remote-controlled helicopters and related components for nine months from May 18, the trade ministry said Friday.

In March, the company, based in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, was ordered by a summary court in the prefecture to pay a fine of 1 million yen for trying export an RMAX helicopter to a Chinese aerial photography company in December 2005 without an export permit. The company did not appeal the decision.

Three company employees were also arrested for allegedly participating in the attempted export but prosecutors did not press charges.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry fears the unmanned vehicles may be converted and used by the military to do such things as spraying chemical weapons.

According to the ministry, Yamaha Motor filed papers with the Nagoya customs office for the export without the export permit. The ministry has alleged that Yamaha Motor did not inform the ministry of the shipment, knowing that the chopper could be converted for military use.

Earlier reports said that the Chinese company had links to the military, and that several of the chopper drones had been exported.

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