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Gov't to ask Nippon Meat group to limit business.

TOKYO, Aug. 14 Kyodo


The agricultural ministry decided Wednesday to ask Nippon Food Inc. to limit its beef-related business activities while considering filing criminal complaints against a senior managing director of its parent firm, Nippon Meat Packers Inc.

The decision stemmed from Nippon Food's alleged defrauding of a state-run beef buyback program, ministry officials said.

The ministry will also issue a request to Nippon Meat to temporarily suspend supplies of beef to the subsidiary, the officials said.

The two companies will be asked to maintain the business restrictions until the Nippon Meat group establishes measures to prevent a recurrence of the fraud.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry will issue the request when it summons Nippon Meat President Hiroji Okoso for questioning, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. the same day.

At the center of the case is some 1.3 tons of imported beef Nippon Food passed off as domestic beef and sold to the Japan Ham & Sausage Processors Cooperative Association under the buyback program, which was intended to bail out the domestic cattle industry battered by the outbreak of mad cow disease in Japan last September.

Ministry investigators have confirmed Nippon Food's sales offices in Hyogo, Tokushima and Ehime prefectures issued false vouchers and took other steps between Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 last year to disguise 520, 260 and 508 kilograms, respectively, of imported beef as domestic under the leadership of their office chiefs.

Nippon Meat subsequently bought back the beef in question from the industry association and incinerated it on July 19.

The ministry said it will consider filing criminal complaints against Nippon Meat Senior Managing Director Motoaki Shoji as he masterminded the incineration scheme.

The ministry is also considering criminal complaints against the heads of Nippon Food's Hyogo, Tokushima and Ehime sales offices.

But the ministry said it is difficult to confirm Nippon Meat and Nippon Food's company-wide involvement in the case.
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Comment:Gov't to ask Nippon Meat group to limit business.
Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Aug 19, 2002
Previous Article:Japan local elections likely April 13, 27.
Next Article:Kawaguchi to go on 3-nation Africa tour Aug. 25-Sept. 6.

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