MPD warns firms of ‘Russian spy’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Japan is seen in February 2020 in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

The Metropolitan Police Department has alerted multiple semiconductor firms in the country that a staff member of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Japan had been in contact with their employees, according to investigative officials.

The MPD’s Public Security Bureau believes that the man may have engaged in espionage activities, attempting to steal the companies’ technological information.

The MPD decided to alert these companies to the threat of technology leakage due to a belief that the department could not prevent such cases through its investigations alone.

The move is believed to be part of economic security measures being promoted by the government.

As an example of the staff member’s activities, the officials said that he pretended to ask for directions from employees of a semiconductor company on a street near the company around the end of 2020, before asking for their contact information and inviting them out for a drink.

In approaching the employees of such companies, the man would hide the fact that he belonged to the Russian Trade Representation.

The MPD bureau last year called on such companies to be cautious of the man. The firm’s employees have not been in touch with the man since then, but the man is still in Japan, the officials said.

In January 2020, a then employee of SoftBank Corp. was found to have leaked the firm’s confidential information at the request of another member of the Russian office’s staff. The employee was found guilty of violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.