SAPPORO (Kyodo) — A former president of meat packer Meat Hope Co. was indicted Wednesday over false labeling of meat products and faces additional related charges filed by police.
The Hokkaido District Public Prosecutors Office said it indicted Minoru Tanaka, 69, on charges of breach of the unfair competition prevention law as well as fraud.
But the prosecutors don’t plan to indict Yoshihito Tanaka — the 34-year-old son of the former president — and two other former executives of the Tomakomai-based company who were arrested last month along with Tanaka on the grounds that they were in subordinate positions in the case. The three were released.
Tanaka admitted to the charges, saying he did it ''to make profits'' and that he believes the company's clients did not know about the false labeling, according to prosecution sources.
According to the indictment, Tanaka shipped about 138 tons of minced meat containing pork and chicken to more than 10 companies by falsely labeling the meat as ''100 percent beef'' at the company's factory 327 times between May last year and June this year.
Tanaka also sold about 100 tons of falsely labeled minced meat to three clients, including Hokkaido Katokichi Co., 14 times and defrauded the companies of a total of 39 million yen through the sales, the indictment said.
Also on Wednesday, the Hokkaido police filed additional charges with the prosecutors against Tanaka and the three others for selling falsely labeled minced meat to 14 companies other than the three clients in the fraud case and defrauding them of about 12 million yen (US$109,116).
The company was set up in 1976. After the revelation in June of the alleged false labeling, its business declined sharply, forcing it to shut down in July after accumulating around 670 million yen (US$609 million) in debts.