2 Firms in Japan Framed in Car Smuggling to N. Korea: Probe

Society

New York, Oct. 21 (Jiji Press)--Two companies in Japan allegedly involved in the smuggling of German-made luxury cars to North Korea handled the vehicles without knowing that they were bound for the reclusive country, according to a summary of an investigation report by a team of lawyers.

Mino Logistics Japan Co. in the western city of Osaka and affiliated Zuisyo Co. in Hyogo Prefecture, near Osaka, were named in a report released in July by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a U.S. think tank, as allegedly playing roles in the suspected illegal export of the vehicles from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to North Korea. Luxury goods exports to North Korea are banned by a U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against the country.

After the release of the C4ADS report, Seiken Jo, head of Mino Logistics, separately asked the team of lawyers and Katsuhisa Furukawa, a former member of the panel of experts of the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea, to investigate the suspicion faced by the two companies.

The lawyers' team compiled its report on Sept. 27, with the summary released to media organizations. The two companies were taken advantage of by people who acted for the real exporter of the vehicles, the team said in the summary.

Furukawa reached the same conclusion. He said in a telephone interview that the illegal export was masterminded by three people--a woman in Dalian, China, who contacted Jo, a Chinese who owns several companies near the China-North Korea border and elsewhere and gave instructions to the woman, and a Russian believed to have been the consignee of the cars in Russia.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press