Two former officials of Nippon Food, a subsidiary of Nippon Meat Packers, have been arrested on suspicion of defrauding the government through a beef mislabelling scam.

Yoshinobu Igaue and Hiroshi Kaneshige, the head and deputy-head of the now-closed Ehime sales office of Nippon Food, were arrested by police yesterday [Wednesday] after a long investigation, reported Kyodo News.

The police said Igaue and Kaneshige allegedly labelled about 3,520 kilograms of imported beef as domestic on 29 October 2001 in order to receive buyback subsidies from the government. They then allegedly sold about 9,590 kg of beef, including the falsely labelled meat, to an industry association through parent Nippon Meat Packers to obtain about ¥6.72m (US$56,750).