Nishinomiya Refrigerating, a Japanese warehouse operator implicated in the meat labelling fraud that brought down Snow Brand Foods, has refused to allow government inpectors to carry out their work.

The company is suspected of violating the law by issuing inventory certificates last November that falsely identified imported beef as domestic at the request of Snow Brand Foods. The government is now considering whether to file a charge against the warehouse operator for unlawfully denying it access, reports Kyodo News.

"We firmly refuse the inspection based on our opposition to the planned unfair punishment and on other grounds," said Yoichi Mizutani, the warehouse operator's president. Mizutani has argued that he reported the scam to the police after his employees told him about the scam that Snow Brand Foods had masterminded, and should therefore not face punishment.