• Kyodo

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The former Sapporo branch chief of Marubeni Chikusan Corp. and an official of a food-processing company were arrested Friday in connection to the false labeling of chicken products.

Kazuma Hiraoka, 48, who headed the Sapporo branch of a Marubeni Corp. subsidiary, and Yoshikazu Takahashi, 47, a former division chief of Sumita Foods of Iwate Prefecture, were the sixth and seventh arrests in the case.

Police suspect Hiraoka arranged with Takahashi for Brazilian meat to be passed off as higher-priced domestic poultry between December 2001 through January 2002. The two are suspected of selling about 7.5 tons of falsely labeled chicken meat.

On Jan. 23, a police task force arrested five suspects, including Akihiro Yoshikawa, 47, former chief of Marubeni Chikusan’s Tohoku regional marketing department.

Police said they will continue their investigation to determine whether senior officials at Marubeni Chikusan’s head office in Tokyo were involved in the scam.

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