March 18, 2017 12:30 am JST

Regulator clears Muji operator of Chinese import fraud claim

Influential state television program now faces criticism of its own

WATARU KODAKA, Nikkei staff writer

A Shanghai food regulator discredited claims that Muji operator Ryohin Keikaku violated a Chinese import ban.

SHANGHAI -- The city's food safety agency found no evidence that Muji retail chain operator Ryohin Keikaku imported food produced in areas of Japan subject to a Chinese ban, discrediting claims made on a popular state television program.

"No products have been found violating the law at this time," Yan Zuqiang, director-general of the Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration, told reporters Friday. "Muji's products have no connection" to areas affected by Chinese import bans.

China prohibits imports of food produced in areas of Japan exposed to radiation following meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Yan also said that no other Japanese food products have been found to violate the ban, noting that moves by some supermarkets and other retailers to pull items from shelves are "voluntary and temporary."

An influential consumer protection program on state-run China Central Television reported Wednesday that Ryohin Keikaku had produced food in an area of Tokyo subject to the ban. But in fact, the address cited as a production site was the location of Ryohin Keikaku's corporate headquarters.

Allegations also have surfaced that photographs used in the same program to criticize sportswear maker Nike were edited versions of photos found on the internet, not submissions from a consumer as CCTV claimed. The program itself now faces substantial criticism, with some accusing it of being a malicious fraud.

Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd.

Japan

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