• Defense & Security

Japanese suspect says he was asked to give Russia info on biochemical weapons

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Kanagawa Prefectural Police Department in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture.

A 70-year-old man from Kanagawa Prefecture arrested last week for illegally obtaining military information in order to provide it to Russia has said he met about 15 Russians over a span of 30 years, and that the data he was asked to provide included documents on biochemical weapons following the deadly sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway system in 1995, the investigative sources told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Kazuo Miyasaka, an unemployed former owner of a research firm from Zama City, had been arrested on Thursday on suspicion of computer fraud, accused of illegally obtaining military technology documents for the purpose of handing them over to a Russian trade official in Japan.

Miyasaka said he was also asked to provide information on the U.S. space program.

According to investigators, Miyasaka registered with a domestic database service company under false premises and between July and December 2019, allegedly obtained eight copies of Japanese and U.S. documents regarding upgrades in radar surveillance and research and development on semiconductors.

Miyasaka told the police that he did so at the request of a male official in his 40s from the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Japan, and handed them over to him.

“I’d earned more than ¥10 million over about 30 years by providing military and scientific documents to several Russians,” Miyasaka was quoted as saying.

A senior police official said Miyasaka ran a research company for technical documents in Tokyo for many years.

According to sources close to the investigation, the Russian trade official left Haneda Airport shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday on a flight to Moscow, without complying with a request to appear at the prefectural police made Wednesday to the Russian Embassy through the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The Russian Embassy in Tokyo posted a message on its Facebook, “We don’t know about reports from Japanese law enforcement agencies about alleged illegal activity of an employee of the Russian Trade Representation in Japan. Sorry they were picked up by the press here.”

The prefectural police confirmed that the Russian official had entered Japan and stayed under the title of a Trade Representation official on two occasions, between around 2008 and 2011 and since May 2019. The registered purpose of his visit was to engage in developing bilateral relations on trade and economic, but it is believed that he was actually an intelligence agent.

Under questioning following his arrest, Miyasaka said he handed off the documents in a method called “flash contact” as the two approached from opposite directions.

In the past, he said the Russian side asked for documents on the Dream Chaser spaceplane developed by a private U.S. company and the X-37B unmanned spacecraft developed by the U.S. Air Force and other entities.

The database service company that Miyasaka registered for only allowed membership by domestic individuals. The police suspect Russian agents used Miyasaka in order to cover up what information and technology the Russian side wants.