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Customs authorities have searched Osaka seafood firm Kanbe Co. for evidence of evading duties on octopus imported from Africa, industry sources said Wednesday.

The Tokyo customs office, which raided the company’s Osaka headquarters and Tokyo bureau, is considering filing a criminal complaint with public prosecutors against the firm on suspicion of violating the Customs Law, the sources said.

Kanbe is suspected of evading duties on imported octopus by falsely claiming the seafood originated from countries whose octopus exports to Japan are exempt from tariffs, they said.

A Kanbe spokesman admitted the company is under investigation but said he was unaware of the details.

The company has imported octopus from Africa’s west coast countries through its office in the Canary Islands.

Maruha Corp., Marubeni Corp., Toyota Tsusho Corp. and a small company in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, were investigated by customs officers on similar allegations earlier this year.

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