Confectionery Company Owned by Liberal Democratic Party Member Sells Refills of Other Companies’ Products | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Confectionery Company Owned by Liberal Democratic Party Member Sells Refills of Other Companies’ Products

Former employee accuses the company of the reality of the situation!

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In late March, we visited Mr. Nakano in person. Behind him is the headquarters and factory of Kurazukuri Honpo, where the “refilling” operation is actually conducted.

We refill Kyushu products made by other companies on the second floor of our factory and sell them as Kawagoe’s specialty sweet potato snacks. Our company’s name is also written in the “Manufacturer” column on the package, and this kind of “false labeling” has been going on for many years.

The accusation is made by a former employee of “Kurazukuri Honpo,” a company that manufactures and sells Japanese confectionery and other products. The company is headquartered in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, and its website claims to be a “Koedo-Kawagoe confectioner established in 1887.

According to the former employee, at least two of the company’s products that were refilled were “Sweet Potato Teacher” sweet potato chips and “Imo Arare” sweet potato snacks. The company’s website claimed that its sweet potato snacks were “Kawagoe’s specialty ‘sweet potato’ that has made a name for itself throughout Japan. However…

M” also sells these two products wholesale to Lawson, Seven-Eleven, and other retailers, but the products do not include the “M” as a manufacturing site. The company’s name is on the label, and it states that the product was manufactured in Miyazaki and that it is made with potatoes from Kyushu.

At the Kurazukuri Honpo factory, however, this same product is simply taken out of the box, staff wearing rubber gloves zap the product onto brown paper laid out on a worktable, and refill their own bags with the product measured by an electronic scale, along with a drying agent. Two products sold for 297 yen (including tax) on another company’s mail order website are sold for 515 yen (including tax) when refilled into Kurazukuri Honpo’s bags, which contain 95 grams less.

The issue of food mislabeling has just this year become an issue when a large amount of clams from China and Korea were distributed as being from Kumamoto Prefecture. In Shizuoka Prefecture, the president of a seafood processing and sales company was arrested and indicted in February for violating the Food Labeling Law and the Unfair Competition Prevention Law by falsifying the origin of foreign wakame seaweed.

The company, which operates 43 stores, including the main store, in Saitama and other parts of Japan, allegedly sold the repackaged products at supermarkets and other stores. Another former employee said in a hushed voice, “The company has been accused of violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

The company is actually headed by Hideyuki Nakano, 60, a local member of the House of Representatives.

According to the company registry, Mr. Nakano has been the company’s representative director since ’17. Mr. Nakano is an incumbent member of the LDP from the Nikai faction, who was first elected to the House of Representatives last October after serving as a prefectural assembly member.

Through its legal counsel, Company M responded that it has no contractual relationship with Kurazukuri Honpo, and that it only ships the products as Miyazaki products at the request of the intermediary company. Of course, they were “completely unaware” of the fact that refilling had taken place. A representative of the Intellectual Property Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said, “We have no knowledge of the fact that the products were refilled.

Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 20 of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law prohibits businesses from making false or misleading representations about the origin of their products. In general, if the products are simply refilled, it is natural to assume that the place of origin is Miyazaki. The court will decide whether or not it is a violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, and an individual can be imprisoned for up to five years or fined up to 5 million yen, or both. A corporation may be fined up to 300 million yen.

In late March, we asked Mr. Nakano what he would say about these allegations.

–Friday. Do you refill the snacks of Company M in Miyazaki?


–Isn’t there some kind of disguise going on?

I don’t know. I used to buy from Company O and sell it. I’ll look into it in detail, and we’ll talk later.

With that, Mr. Nakano got into his car. Later, the company responded in writing, “It was discovered today in the course of fact-finding that the company has been inappropriately using phrases on its website that are reminiscent of Kawagoe potatoes. It further explained that it became aware of the condition, which violates the Food Labeling Law, after being directly interviewed by this magazine.

After the magazine’s interview, Nakano posted an apology on the company’s website. Will he be able to regain trust?

Products wholesaled by Company M (Osatsu Chip, Imo Karinto) and products sold by Kurazukuri Honpo after refilling them (Sweet Potato Teacher, Imo Arare).

From the April 15, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview and text Hironori Jinno, nonfiction writer Photography Shinji Hamasaki

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