National / Crime & Legal

Teen and two others referred to prosecutors over trading uranium online

Kyodo

Police referred two men and a high school student to prosecutors Tuesday over their alleged involvement in online trading of uranium, in violation of Japanese law regulating nuclear materials.

A 24-year-old man of Azumino, Nagano Prefecture, is suspected of posting for sale small amounts of depleted uranium and natural uranium in glass tubes on a Yahoo online auction website. The 17-year-old high school boy of Koganei, Tokyo, and a 61-year-old pharmacist of Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, were allegedly purchasers of the chemicals, police said.

Japan’s laws on nuclear materials ban people other than approved businesses and organizations from trading in nuclear fuel materials such as depleted uranium.

According to investigative sources, the man who sold uranium told the police that he had bought it through an overseas website. All three of them said they were motivated by an interest in chemistry and had no intention to use the materials for any unlawful purpose.

The Metropolitan Police Department referred the boy to prosecutors in April for allegedly creating an explosive powder.

Police launched an investigation last year into the sales of a substance described as “Uranium 99.9 percent” via a Yahoo website for online auctions.

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