We thought that these things only happen in the movies – where scientists and engineers are “seduced” into giving away industrial and technological secrets by scantily-clad women in night clubs. Apparently, this is one of those situations where the notion “art imitates life” is sadly true – a hostess club in Kyoto is now being linked to a Chinese effort at espionage and gathering technological information from Japanese companies.
According to Japanese investigators, top executives and engineers from at least five (but could be more than five) leading-edge Japanese technology companies that are into the manufacturing of electronics components and precision equipment in Kyoto came to this hush-hush club – not named by the sources, but said to be located near Yasaka Shrine in Higashiyama Ward – and proceeded to talk about details regarding upcoming technologies and strategies for the Chinese market. Sounds like a normal meeting, you say – I would actually question this normal way of doing things, but this one actually was done with Chinese hostesses and the female manager of the club – a Chinese national who reportedly has relatives in the Chinese Communist Party – in the vicinity. What’s more damaging is that, “Some engineers showed design drawings to the hostesses,” according to an investigator. The club, which reportedly charged 20,000 yen (approx. $200) per customer for entry, opened in 2007 and was closed down in June.
This all came from a scandal in July involving the arrest of a 32-year-old hostess from the same club for engaging in a fake marriage with a Japanese Self-Defense Force member, who was also arrested. The hostess was found guilty of the fake marriage, and the Self-Defense Force member was dismissed from duty and is currently under prosecution in the case. These situations make for easy information gathering, according to the investigators, and it is no wonder the Chinese seem to be using this method as one of their standard espionage tactics.