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The Tokyo District Court on Monday sentenced a 51-year-old company executive to 21/2 years in prison, suspended for four years, for selling counterfeit cigarettes sold by Japan Tobacco Inc.

Sadayoshi Amamiya was found guilty of violating the Trademark Law for selling cigarettes believed to have been smuggled to Japan from China.

The verdict was the first in a string of recent cases involving the sale of the knockoffs.

“The criminal liability, which broadly affects ordinary consumers and small retail outlets, is significant. However, money gained from the sales has already been reimbursed,” said presiding Judge Manabu Yamazaki.

Amamiya sold 152,000 cigarettes falsely bearing two popular brand names to Fumio Sasai, 58, for an estimated 25 million yen in May and June this year, according to the ruling.

The cigarettes bore the brands Seven Lights and Seven Stars Mild, which are among the government-run tobacco monopoly’s best-selling products.

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