Rakuten worker arrested for alleged SoftBank 5G secrets leak

Japan Times -- Jan 13
A former SoftBank Corp. employee has been arrested on suspicion of illegally disclosing 5G trade secrets to his new employer, Rakuten Mobile Inc., as it was preparing to launch its own mobile network.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday arrested Kuniaki Aiba, 45, on suspicion of leaking secret information in breach of a law preventing unfair competition.

Aiba is suspected of having transferred trade secrets from SoftBank by emailing information on the company's 5G technology to his own account on Dec. 31, 2019, when he was still working for SoftBank, police said.

Soon after, he left SoftBank and joined Rakuten Mobile, according to investigative sources.

The police did not reveal whether or not Aiba has admitted to the allegations.

SoftBank issued a statement saying that confidential 4G and 5G networking plans and technology were among the information compromised, though no client data had been exposed. Rakuten Mobile confirmed Aiba is an employee of the company, which is fully cooperating with the police investigation, according to spokesman Yuta Mizuno.

SoftBank suspects Rakuten Mobile has already used the information, which might be preserved in Aiba's business computer at Rakuten, and plans to file a lawsuit demanding its rival stop using the information and destroy it.

- Japan Times