House Panel Approves Ban On Toshiba Products At Military PX’s
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A House subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday that would ban the sale of Toshiba Corp. products at shops on U.S. military bases, and the panel’s chairman predicted that harsher measures would follow.
The measure is the latest in a series of angry congressional responses to disclosures that the Japanese manufacturer secretly sold the Soviets high- technology equipment that has permitted them to make their submarines harder to detect.
″I think it’s a signal,″ Rep. Dan Daniel, D-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, said after the panel voted 10-0 for the measure. ″I don’t think I’ve witnessed as much outrage over one incident of selling technology to our chief adversaries.″
Last year, Toshiba sold $23 million worth of electronics products, appliances and housewares at 411 American military exchanges, according to figures compiled by the subcommittee.
Daniel said the subcommittee’s legislation covered only sales at the exchanges because ″that’s all we have jurisdiction over.″ But he said he expected Congress to approve other measures that would deal harsher blows to the Japanese manufacturer.
One House measure would ban all sales by the company in the United States. A provision in the giant trade bill the Senate is considering would ban Toshiba imports to this country for two to five years.
Some members of the subcommittee made it clear there is support for tougher steps against Toshiba.
″I think we’re going to have to see some type of reparations take place,″ said Rep. John G. Rowland, R-Conn., who has introduced legislation to prohibit Toshiba from selling products to any branch of the U.S. government.
Daniel said that a meeting he and other lawmakers had last week with visiting Japanese trade minister Hajime Tamura had not been satisfactory.
″They couldn’t even assure us they’d prohibit shipment of spare parts, or the travel of their citizens to maintain this equipment,″ he said.
A subsidiary of Toshiba, Toshiba Machine Co., and Kongsberg Vaapenfabrik, Norway’s state-owned arms manufacturer, sold computer-guided propeller milling machines to the Soviet Union. The equipment has enabled the Soviets to make their submarines quieter, making them harder to detect when they are submerged.
The sales violated agreements among Western nations - including the United States, Japan and Norway - governing what items may be exported to the Soviets.
Kongsberg exports virtually no consumer items to the United States, so most congressional attention in the controversy has been directed at Toshiba.