• Kyodo News


The head of a food processing and sales company in Tokyo was arrested with two other people Wednesday on suspicion of falsely labeling eel from China as domestically raised.

The Metropolitan Police Department said Hamashin Chairman Hayama Nakamura, 67, has admitted to breaking the law against unfair competition by falsely labeling 3,000 packs of grilled eel on May 22 last year and selling them to a Tokyo wholesaler for ¥1.71 million the following day.

The police said Nakamura bought eel grown and grilled in China for ¥340 per pack and sold them for about ¥600 after repackaging the fish to make them appear as if they had been grown in Kagoshima and other places in Japan.

Sales of the falsely labeled products are estimated to have totaled about ¥200 million between September 2007 and last August, the officials said.

Nakamura was quoted by the police as saying he was solely responsible for the mislabeling. The others denied any wrongdoing.

In a similar case, a seafood company president in Tokushima Prefecture and seven others were arrested last November for allegedly passing off grilled eel from China as having been raised in Aichi Prefecture and selling them through a Kobe-based wholesaler.

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