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A former SoftBank Corp. employee pleaded not guilty Tuesday on charges of stealing information related to 5G technology from the Japanese wireless company.

In the first hearing of his trial at the Tokyo District Court, Kuniaki Aiba, 46, said he was not aware that information he took from SoftBank was considered confidential trade secrets.

In their opening statement, the prosecution claimed that Aiba made the SoftBank information he took with him available to Rakuten Mobile Inc., another Japanese wireless operator.

The prosecution also said that when Aiba was offered a job at Rakuten Mobile, he sent a message to an acquaintance at the company via the LINE communication app stating that he escaped with confidential information.

In its opening statement, the defense side claimed that as the information in question did not have a password, it cannot be considered to have contained trade secrets and in fact was useless information for other companies.

According to the indictment, Aiba connected to a SoftBank server in December 2019 from a personal computer at his home and emailed to himself a file containing SoftBank’s intelectual property.

He started working for Rakuten Mobile in January 2020, but quit the company in January this year following his arrest.

In May, SoftBank filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo courts demanding ¥1 billion in damages from Rakuten Mobile and Aiba.

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