Japan, Soviets Reportedly Trade More Diplomatic Expulsions
TOKYO (AP) _ A high-ranking Japanese diplomat was kicked out of the Soviet Union for spying, and Japan retaliated by sending a top Soviet diplomat home, according to a published report Thursday.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry denied the report in the the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
The Japanese official, Toshio Tsunozaki, was deported in September for ″engaging in activities incompatible″ with that of a diplomat - a euphemism for espionage, Mainichi said, quoting an unidentified source in Moscow.
Sergei P. Kharin, a first secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Tokyo, left Japan in October after Japan’s Foreign Ministry ordered him home in retaliation for Tsunozaki’s ouster, the newspaper said.
Asked about the report, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yoshifumi Matsuda said, ″Mr. Tsunozaki was not deported by the Soviet authorities - he just returned according to ministry instructions, after completing his tour of duty.″
Matsuda declined to say whether Tsunozaki was asked to leave the Soviet Union or if he had been accused of espionage. But the spokesman said the Soviets had not declared Tsunozaki persona non grata.
Matsuda said Kharin left Japan in October, but denied that Kharin was deported. The official refused further comment.
Soviet-Japan relations have suffered following revelations of a series of alleged illegal transfers of militarily sensitive technology from Japan to the Soviet Union.
In April, the Japanese government said Toshiba Machine Co., a major Japanese machinery maker, had sold sophisticated milling machines to the Soviet Union from 1982-84, violating the Coordinating Committee for Export Control, which regulates trade with the communist bloc.
The machines will allow Soviet submarines to run quieter and thus hamper their detection.
In May, Japanese police charged that several Soviet officials purchased U.S. aircraft technical manuals stolen by a Japanese worker at a U.S. air base near Tokyo.
Of the four Soviets linked to the transactions, one had already left Japan and the other three departed abruptly.
In July, Tokyo police said Soviet Vice Trade Representative Yuri G. Pokrovsky allegedly bought information about aircraft controls and instruments stolen from the Tokyo Aircraft Instrument Co. by a Japanese employee.
The company reportedly makes instruments for military airplanes such as the F-15 jet fighter and the P-3C anti-submarine patrol plane.
In a move interpreted in Japan as a retaliation, the Soviet Union accused a Japanese defense attache and a Japanese businessman based in Moscow of espionage and expelled them in August. Both denied the allegations.
Shortly after those expulsions, the Japanese Foreign Ministry ordered Pokrovsky to leave Japan, saying he had failed to appear for police questioning.