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The Radioactive Man strikes back 

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June 18, 2000 


TOKYO, (AP) - A Tokyo man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of mailing radioactive ore to 10 Japanese government offices earlier this month.


The radioactive material sent to the prime minister's residence, the Defense Agency and eight other ministries was too small to harm humans, government officials said.


Police arrested 42-year-old demolition worker Tsugio Uchinishi on charges of sending banned material through the mail, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokesman said on condition of anonymity.


Envelopes containing particles of monazite - a brown sandlike substance that is the source of the nuclear fuel thorium - were sent from a post office in a Tokyo suburb and arrived June 6, police



The envelopes included a message warning that a 70-year-old man was exporting nuclear material to North Korea, police said, without giving further details.


Upon conviction, sending banned material through the mail is punishable by a fine of up to 500,000 yen (dlrs 4,700).


The letter sent to the prime minister's residence contained about 3 grams of powder, or about 1 micro-sievert of radioactivity - a "very small amount," according to the Science and Technology



The average person is exposed to about 1,000 micro-sieverts of radioactivity a year.


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