• Kyodo

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The Mito District Court sentenced the former owner of a chicken farm outfit and one of its former executives Friday to suspended 14-month prison terms for failing to report suspected bird flu cases in 2005 and other charges.

Taiyo Saito, 67, former chairman of IKN Egg Farms Co., was fined 300,000 yen, while former executive Ikuo Eguchi, 59, was fined 200,000 yen. The farm company itself was fined 1.3 million yen. Prosecutors said at the trial the coverup was committed systematically to prevent financial loss.

The defendants admitted obstructing an official inspection but pleaded not guilty over the reporting failure, arguing the chickens could not have been diagnosed as possibly being infected with the disease even if they tested positive in the antibody tests.

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