FUKUOKA (Kyodo) have indicted the president of a trading company in Kumamoto Prefecture for illegally exporting to China a power shovel that can be used in the development of weapons of mass destruction and which was later transported to North Korea.

Hiromitsu Tsutsumi, 63, of Yatsushiro, was arrested last month.

Also arrested in connection with the case was the 37-year-old head of another trading firm in the city of Fukuoka, but prosecutors have decided not to indict him due to insufficient evidence.

Tsutsumi is suspected of exporting to China a used power shovel in April 2009 under the name of the trading firm in Fukuoka by submitting a false declaration to customs and without obtaining permission from the minister of economy, trade and industry, according to the indictment.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police said they have confirmed that the power shovel has since been transported to North Korea from Dalian, China.

Tsutsumi exported three other power shovels to Hong Kong in February 2009. According to the police, he has told investigators he received orders from North Korea and was given about ¥10 million in advance payment, and that the power shovel he exported in April 2009 was a reward for the party that placed the orders.

Power shovels come under the export control regulation because they could be diverted for military use, such as for launchpads for ballistic missiles.

U.S. cooperation

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japan and the United States reaffirmed Tuesday their cooperation on a response to North Korea over its alleged sinking in March of a South Korean warship, Foreign State Secretary Koichi Takemasa said after meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg.

Takemasa said he and Steinberg agreed to work closely on seeking full implementation of a resolution adopted last month by the U.N. Security Council for fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programs.

Takemasa, who is visiting the U.S., said they discussed a range of bilateral and global issues but declined to say whether they took up the issue of relocating the Futenma air base in Okinawa.

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