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Business trends

Japan's wagyu ranchers risk losing market to overseas competitors

Farmers could use intellectual property rules to limit access to cattle DNA

Australia already raises wagyu, "The Rolls-Royce of Beef," and Japanese ranchers want to make sure China does not also become a competitor. (Photo by Wataru Suzuki)

TOKYO -- Wagyu beef marked with a "made in China" sticker? Japanese farmers have narrowly escaped such a threat to their livelihoods, at least for now.

Japan's agriculture ministry is pressing criminal charges against a man who tried to take wagyu sperm and fertilized eggs to China. Authorities allege the man violated the Domestic Animal Infectious Diseases Control Act.

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