The agriculture ministry filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday against a man who allegedly tried to bring hundreds of fertilized eggs and sperm of wagyu cattle to China.
The ministry filed the complaint with the Osaka Prefectural Police because the case is very serious as it involved a large number of wagyu eggs, officials said.
Japan bans the export of fertilized and unfertilized eggs and sperm of the cattle under the animal infectious diseases control law. Offenders are subject to imprisonment of up to three years or up to ¥1 million in fines.
The case marks the first criminal complaint over wagyu exports, according to the ministry.
The man is alleged to have tried to bring a container of fertilized wagyu eggs and sperm from a port in Osaka to Shanghai. His attempt was discovered at Chinese customs.
After returning to Japan, the man told customs personnel that he was asked by his acquaintance to carry the container. The man said he did not know that it was illegal.