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Four Men Arrested for Allegedly Passing U.S. Documents to Soviets

May 19, 1987

TOKYO (AP) _ Police Tuesday night arrested four Japanese men, including an employee at a U.S. air base, on suspicion of spying after one attempted to give documents to a Soviet official, police said Wednesday.

News reports said the men also were suspected of providing technical documents to Chinese officials.

A Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said Hiromi Date, 62, employed as a counselor at the China Technical Center in Tokyo, was arrested when he met with V.B. Aksenov, 35, an official at the Soviet Trade Representative Office in Tokyo, at a park in Musashino and tried to give him some documents. The police official did not describe the nature of the documents.

Following Date’s arrest, police searched the homes of three other Japanese and then arrested them as well, he said.

The nationally circulated newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that police seized a radio receiver, timetable, tape recording of Morse code, and technical documents describing U.S. military aircraft such as the F-100 and the F-16 from the men’s houses.

Arrested with Date were Hiroshi Osumi, 65, an employee in the technical library at the U.S. Yokota Air Base outside of Tokyo, Masateru Tachibana, 59, and Sadao Gotoh, 60, an employee at a trading company doing business with China, the police official said.

The police official, who identified himself only as Mr. Sakurada, said Osumi was suspected of having stolen manuals on repair and maintenance of U.S. military planes from the technical library at Yokota Air Base in March and then of having sold them to Tachibana, who then allegedly provided them to Date.

The Asahi and other newspapers said police believed that Date then gave the materials to Aksenov, Gotoh and Igorj A. Sokolov, first secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Tokyo. The newspapers quoted police as saying that Date received payments from the Soviet Union in return.

Date was believed to have other contacts with Chinese officials, the Asahi said.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official said he could not comment on the reported arrests. U.S. military officials at Yokota were not immediately available for comment.

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