July 11 (UPI) -- Japanese authorities say they have arrested a Chinese national for smuggling North Korean beer into the country.
Police in Fukuoka, Japan, say the defendant, who has not been identified, is 19 years old and began smuggling banned North Korean beer in 2018, Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday.
Authorities in Fukuoka say the defendant was arrested on charges of violating the Foreign Exchange Law, after trying to sell North Korean beer on an online auction site.
The defendant initially smuggled beer in early October of last year, beginning with one bottle of Taedonggang beer. The teen was importing the beer illegally, as he did not obtain permission from Japan's trade ministry, according to the Asahi.
Japan's unilateral sanctions against North Korea bans the importation of all goods originating from the North Korea regime.
Japanese sanctions were strengthened in response to Pyongyang's weapons tests in 2016-17.
The defendant was using arbitrage to sell North Korean beer, priced $1.85 to $2.77 per bottle in Shanghai, China, to resell in Japan at more than $90 per bottle, according to the report.
Prior to engaging in the North Korea beer trade, the defendant also bought and sold toys and "character products" across national borders.
Japan is cracking down on North Korean goods at a time when South Korean politicians are accusing Japan of past illegal exports to North Korea.
Ha Tae-kyung of the center-right Bareun Mirae Party said there is evidence from the Center for Information on Security Trade Controls, a nongovernmental organization based in Japan, that Japanese firms at one point were smuggling hydrogen fluoride into North Korea, Yonhap reported Thursday.
There are more than 30 cases of smuggling to North Korea from Japan, from 1996 to 2003, Ha said.
Hydrogen fluoride from Japan is being restricted as part of new trade limitations in Tokyo. Individual applications will be needed for permission to export to South Korea three materials: fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resists. The products are used to make semiconductors, flat-screen TVs and smartphones.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said the restrictions are necessary because Seoul could be cheating on North Korea sanctions.