Japan was embarrassed to discover that a Japanese machinery
manufacturer had illegally shipped a jet-mill grinder to Iran in 1999, and that
the equipment (which uses highly compressed air to shape solid materials) was
being used in the manufacture of solid fuel rockets for Iran's ballistic missiles.
The machinery was cheap ($129,000) and does have non-weapons uses. But the
manufacturer did not ask permission of the government to export the gear, and
is thus been punished by not being allowed to export anything for two years.
Japan, Germany and the United States are all producers of precision
manufacturing equipment that is needed to produce modern weapons. All three
countries have to be careful who they export to, as there are often no other
sources for some of this precision equipment.