Three arrested for illegally exporting sonar

Police in Japan have arrested three people on suspicion of illegally exporting sonar equipment to Chile. The high-performance system could be used for military purposes on submarines.

Hyogo prefectural police arrested Haraguchi Koshi , a former director of Tokyo-based Sonic Corporation, and two others.

Sources close to the investigation say the suspects are thought to have exported the sonar system to Chile in July 2020 in violation of Japan's foreign currency exchange law.

Sonar systems use sound waves to detect objects under water. They are often deployed on fishing boats. But those with a detection range of over 5,120 meters could be used for military purposes, such as on submarines.

In Japan, exporters must obtain permission from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to ship these high-performance devices.

Investigators say the suspects were not authorized by the government to export the system.