Japanese men arrested breeding banned fish

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Three Japanese office workers were sent to the Public Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday for possibly violating the Act for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and Cultural Assets Preservation.

The main suspect, in his 60s, is from Arakawa Tokyo. He has been charged with engaging in an illegal transaction and breeding of the Tokyo bitterling (Tanakia tanago), a temperate freshwater fish of the carp family. It has been declared a national monument by the Japanese government which gives it special protection.

Introduced by his 66-year-old acquaintance on May 2012, the suspect adopted 28 fish from a 54-year-old man free of charge. He then bought breeding books to study hard to raise the endangered species. The number of Tokyo bitterling increased from 28 to 1,121 in two years. He then went to the Agency for Cultural Affairs last July and got in trouble for breeding the fish.

The fish reaches a size of up to 6 cm. It had been listed on the "Vulnerable" list since 1994. To help protect it, it has been declared a "national monument" by the Japanese government which gives it special protection. Therefore, special authorization is required when it comes to the adoption and breeding.

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