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SAGA (Kyodo) High-quality beef taken by a Saga Prefectural Government official to the United Arab Emirates and served at an export promotion event in Dubai was not inspected as required by Japanese law, prefectural officials revealed Tuesday.

The official in the distribution division of the prefectural government’s agriculture, forestry, fisheries and commerce department took 15 kg of the beef raised in Saga Prefecture and served it at a reception Nov. 26 at the Japanese Consulate General in Dubai, officials said.

The prefectural government apparently believed no inspection was required as the beef was not for export.

However, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry confirmed that the beef was not exempt from inspection.

Farm minister Shigeru Ishiba said Tuesday his ministry has urged the Saga Prefectural Government to file a report and that stern action would be taken if the beef was exported without undergoing inspection.

The Saga Prefectural Government has promoted the sale of Saga beef, which is considered a high-quality brand along with Matsusaka, Kobe and Hida beef.

Japan’s domestic animal infectious diseases law requires exported beef be inspected by animal quarantine officers.

Violators face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to ¥1 million.

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