Japanese Public Broadcaster NHK has obtained information that someone might be selling saplings of a variety of Japanese apple online in China, without consent of the registered rights holder. A research center holds the rights and has asked the Japanese government for help to confirm if any saplings have been improperly exported.
The variety is called "Chiyuki." It was developed in Aomori Prefecture, a well-known apple-growing area in northeastern Japan. Some local vendors are reportedly selling what appear to be Chiyuki saplings on a major Chinese online shopping site.
Aomori's Industrial Technology Research Center registered the variety in China four years ago. The center's consent is needed before anyone can sell or grow Chiyuki brand apples in China. Japan has been exporting a growing amount of fruit. Some varieties of strawberries, grapes and other items have been shipped and grown overseas without permission.