Japan Accuses 4 of Selling U.S. Data to Soviets, China

Associated Press

Four Japanese passed on U.S. military documents to Soviet and Chinese buyers for several years, police charged today, and U.S. military authorities investigated the extent of the security damage.

The four suspects include a current and a former employee of U.S. military facilities.

Police said the men are suspected of selling documents to Soviet diplomats and Chinese buyers, but police said they had no details of the alleged deals with the Chinese, who may or may not have been government officials.

The four men were arrested Tuesday after one attempted to give U.S. military documents to a Soviet diplomat in a Tokyo park, the police said.

Police said they seized documents and equipment that pointed to a longtime operation that included transactions in a cemetery and orders issued by short-wave from the Soviet Union.

They said the four received a total of more than $714,000 for the documents.

The United States is studying the damage caused by the ring but leaving the investigation to the Japanese, said Lt. Col. John T. Kirkwood, deputy director of the 5th Air Force public affairs division.

Police arrested Hiromi Date, 62, when he met V. B. Aksenov of the Soviet Trade Representative's office at a park in western Tokyo to hand over documents, a police official said. Aksenov, who police said claimed diplomatic immunity, left Japan today aboard an Aeroflot Airlines flight to the Soviet Union.

On Tuesday night, police arrested Hiroshi Osumi, 65, an employee in the technical library of the Yokota U.S. Air Base in western Tokyo, on suspicion of stealing documents on the repair of maintenance of U.S. transport planes.

Also arrested were Masateru Tachibana, 59, a writer on military affairs and a former employee at another U.S. air base, and Sadao Gotoh, 60, the president of Sanko Ltd., a trading company doing business with China, police said.

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