Japan police raid company on suspicion of illegal nuclear exports

Authorities raided a company in southwestern Japan on Thursday on suspicion it illegally exported machinery that can be used to make nuclear weapons, police said. Police raided the headquarters of Horkos Corp., a maker of machining tools and construction equipment, and several other sites in the city of Fukuyama, about 370 miles (600 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo, said police spokesman Ryoji Manda. The company is suspected of exporting equipment without obtaining government authorization, he said. In 2004, Horkos exported several "machining centers" to South Korea, from where they could then have been sold to other countries, Japanese media reported. The equipment is highly precise and can be used to make components for centrifuges that enrich uranium for use in nuclear bombs. Repeated calls to Horkos Corp. went unanswered Thursday.