TOKYO — The government punished two major Japanese firms with stiff trade restrictions Friday for illegally selling the Soviet Union strategic technology to help its submarines avoid detection by the U.S. Navy.
The move came two days after U.S. officials traveling with Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger in Europe charged the technology transfer had a "very serious" impact on U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Japanese officials said its measures are the toughest yet on technology export control. They also warned 150 trade and industry associations against such exports to the Communist Bloc.
The firms--Toshiba Machine Co., a subsidiary of the electronics giant, and C. Itoh, a major trading house--illegally exported four machine tools to the Soviets in 1982 and 1983, Yukio Okamoto, the Foreign Ministry's national security bureau director, told a news conference.