BT reader, Kikiandlala, informed me that the The Japan Times reported:

” U.S. federal prosecutors have charged a former Japanese citizen who is now a captain in the U.S. Army with conspiring to export military equipment to Japan without obtaining U.S. government approval.

Capt. Tomoaki Iishiba, 34, who served as an intelligence liaison officer at Fort Lewis in Washington state, allegedly conspired with a partner from around 2006 through last February to purchase night-vision sights and gun parts from a firm in Illinois and export them without a license to Japan. 

“Iishiba committed numerous overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including purchasing 60 EoTech 553 sights from a business known as Optics Planet, and mailing the sights to coconspirators in Japan without first obtaining an export license. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371,” according to the indictment.

The prosecutors filed the indictment with the U.S. District Court in Seattle on July 16.

The names of the importers in Japan were not disclosed.

Iishiba, who left Japan in 1993, joined the U.S. Army after graduating from college and obtaining U.S. citizenship.

Iishiba, who participated in military operations against Taliban militiamen in Afghanistan as a member of an army airborne unit, wrote a book titled “A Japanese Lieutenant from the 82nd Airborne” in 2005. In 2007, he wrote a book on the M-4 carbine rifle used by U.S. forces.” LOS ANGELES (Kyodo)

The link to the story is here.

Zurui’s comments: It is possible that the night vision googles and gun parts could have ended up on the streets of Japan, in some foreign country that desires or seeks to improve existing military technology, or even in the hands of terrorists.

It is often said that Japan is safe due to the lack of guns on the streets. Japan has also said that it takes the higher “moral” ground by not manufacturing guns. However, in reality the fact is that Japan actually conducts a thriving small arms export trade.The international annual publication, the Small Arms Survey, for example, reported that in 2002 Japan exported $65 million worth of small arms which, in monetary terms, ranks Japan among the top eight exporters of small arms worldwide for that year. 

The Japanese government evades this issue by contending that “hunting guns and sport guns are not regarded as ‘arms’,” and therefore the self-imposed ban on arms exports only applies to guns of a military specification. This raises the question of what differentiates a military specification gun from a sporting or hunting weapon. However, the Japanese Ministry for Export, Trade and Industry (METI) provides no comprehensive definition. Instead it decides on a case-by-case basis whether a weapon should be defined as being of military specification. 

The finessing of the definition of “arms” to exclude sporting and hunting weapons may ensure that Japan adheres to its ban on arms in the eyes of the policymakers but in reality this is a cynical interpretation. While METI claims there is a distinction between a sporting weapon and a military weapon, the fact of the matter is that almost all tactical shotguns – the type of weapon used by military and police forces throughout the world – are modified civilian guns.

A bright light is shone on Japan’s involvement in the arms trade when one examines exports of defense electronics and dual-use equipment. Ever since its inception, a gaping hole has existed in the ban on arms exports, specifically products that have both military and civilian applications may escape the ban on military exports. 

Even certain vehicles used by the military are able to evade the export ban by using the dual-use window of opportunity. Military forces throughout the world can be seen riding Toyotas, Suzukis and Mitsubishis. In March 2005, the Omani Engine Engineering Company announced that it would be basing its Nimer 1 light armored personnel carrier on a Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4 chassis. The vehicle, which will have firing ports and the possibility of mounted machine guns, is clearly for military use, yet because the Land Cruiser chassis can also be exported for civilian use, it escapes the ban on arms exports.

At any rate, there is alway more to the story!

Source: Robin Ballantyne, a researcher at the Omega Research Foundation