Japanese police have arrested three individuals, including the head of a trading company, on suspicion that they unlawfully exported to a Chinese firm a carbon fiber material that can be diverted to military use, according to the Japan Times.

Investigators suspect the three exported without government permission around 3,500 kg of carbon fiber made by Toho Tenax Co to China via Busan, South Korea, in January 2010, by falsely declaring the end user was a South Korean firm.

The China-based importer is linked to Chinese and other foreign military enterprises, the police said, raising the possibility that the material could have ended up in an end-user country such as Iran.

Those arrested were identified as Shoji Kondo, 75, chairman of a Hyogo-based trading company, Norio Miyake, 57, the company’s sales manager, and Shin Tanesa, 66, a sales agent.

The three denied the allegations. They said it was their understanding the carbon fiber would go no farther than South Korea, according to the police.

This story is reprinted from material from Japan Times, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.