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Factory Worker Sentenced to 3.5 Years For Lacing Foods With Pesticide

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 9:28am
Kyodo News International, Tokyo

MAEBASHI, Japan (Kyodo) — A former contract worker at a subsidiary of seafood company Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. was sentenced Friday to three and a half years in prison for lacing frozen food products with pesticide last fall at a factory in Gunma Prefecture, eastern Japan.

Toshiki Abe, 49, tampered with 22 products at the factory of Aqlifoods Co. by spraying them with the pesticide malathion for 16 days between Oct. 3 and Nov. 5, and also obstructed the firm's business of producing and shipping frozen food products, the Maebashi District Court found.

Abe has no plans to appeal the ruling, said his lawyer, who had a meeting with him after the court closed.

In handing down the decision, presiding judge Yoshiko Noguchi said Abe's spraying of pesticide onto foodproducts was premeditated and "extremely dangerous," noting some consumers complained of health problems after eating the products.

Prosecutors had sought imprisonment of four years and six months, arguing Abe tried to exact revenge on his employer and factory manager for what he considered unfair treatment and inadequate pay.

Abe's defense lawyer did not fight the indictment but had called for a leniency, noting Abe's bonuses were heavily cut due to a change in the company's salary system.

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