A group of young middle-ranking employees at beleaguered Japanese food group Snow Brand Milk Products Co. have initiated the publication of an apology for the group's involvement in two food scandals in Sunday newspapers.

The move is being interpreted as a sign that employees at the group have lost all confidence in management and feel they need to act themselves to restore public confidence. In 2000 a national food poisoning outbreak was caused by the company, and this year subsidiary company Snow Brand Foods was involved in a meat mislabelling fraud. The apology says that "all employees" of the group are "deeply sorry for the series of vicious acts we have committed".

In other news today, rumours of still closer ties with Swiss giant Nestlé emerged. To read that story, click here.