Playstation 2 is potentially a weapon

Japan imposed export restriction on game consoles.

When the news began to spread on the Internet at the beginning of last week, skepticism initially prevailed. An English newspaper reported that the Japanese government had imposed export controls on the Playstation 2. The hardware of the console is so powerful that it can be misused for weapons systems, for example, a missile guidance system.

An English technology journalist promptly suspected that a PR ploy by Sony’s local marketing department could be behind it. "This is exactly the kind of news that appeals to the target group of gamers", he said, "that your Playstation is so powerful that it can push a satellite out of orbit".

But in the meantime the rumor of export control has become a fact. The Japanese government is increasingly concerned that consumer electronics could be used by foreign powers for war purposes. Two years ago, a North Korean spy submarine was found with modified Japanese technology on board. The Playstation 2 was called "All-purpose product with reference to conventional weapons" classified. In concrete terms, this means that private individuals are not allowed to export more than one PS2 per person from Japan. For a coarser number of devices, an export permit must be obtained.

But the enormous business that Sony expects with the PS2 is not endangered by this. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) said that they already had export permits for Europe and the USA, and that export control would only mean additional bureaucratic effort, and that they had already known about it when the product was launched. SCE expects to sell four million PS2 consoles in Japan and three million in Europe and the United States this year and next.

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