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Moscow says expelled Japanese man sought info on Russia's 'military potential'

AFP-JIJI

Moscow said Monday that it handed Japanese diplomats a note of protest after a Japanese national was allegedly caught trying to obtain “classified information” in Russia’s Far East.

On Dec. 25, Russian law enforcement officials detained a Japanese national who was trying to obtain “classified information about Russia’s military potential in the Far East,” a Russian foreign ministry representative said on condition of anonymity.

The Japanese national, who was not identified and was in Russia on a media visa, was warned about “the inadmissibility of his actions” and ordered to leave the country, the foreign ministry said.

He left Russia the next day, the ministry added.

The Russian foreign ministry also summoned a Japanese diplomat and handed him a note of protest over the incident, Moscow said.

Asked why Russia made the announcement only now, the foreign ministry representative declined to comment.

On Sunday, Japanese police arrested a former SoftBank employee for allegedly stealing proprietary information from the telecom giant and giving it to Russian officials.

Yutaka Araki, 48, is suspected of obtaining “trade secrets from a computer server at a telecommunication-related company on February 18 last year, in violation of Japan’s unfair competition prevention law,” Tokyo police said in a statement.

Authorities did not identify the firm, but local media said it was major mobile carrier SoftBank Corp., a unit of the SoftBank Group.

Police suspect Russian trade officials at Moscow’s mission in Tokyo were involved in espionage, media reported.

The Russian Embassy has described the media reports as “regrettable” and “cheap spy allegations.”

The foreign ministry on Monday declined to say whether the two incidents were related.

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