Japan Mulls Fines of Up to 10 M. Yen for Wagyu Gene Smuggling

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese agriculture ministry is considering imposing fines of up to 10 million yen or prison terms of up to 10 years on individuals who illegally sell or take abroad genetic materials of "wagyu" Japanese beef cattle, such as fertilized eggs and sperm, it was learned on Wednesday.

Corporate violators will be fined up to 300 million yen, informed sources said.

The penalties will be stipulated in a draft of a new law that is set to be proposed to the Diet, Japan's parliament, during its ongoing regular session.

The move comes with wagyu cattle farmers calling for measures against wagyu gene smuggling, at a time when the popularity of wagyu is growing around the globe. In 2018, there was a case in which fertilized eggs and sperm of wagyu were about to be transferred without permission to China.

The new law will recognize wagyu's genetic features as intellectual property acquired through farmers' longstanding breeding efforts.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press