Japan beef company holds on
Deadlines set for creditors to file payment requests
By RICHARD SMITH
For the Capital Press
TOKYO -- Calming fears among hay growers, Japan's second-largest beef producer said it will stay in business and continue feeding its 145,000 head of cattle.
Agura Bokujo is forsaking bankruptcy protection and undertaking civil rehabilitation proceedings, company executives said, according to the minutes of meetings held in Kobe Sept. 17 and two days later in the Japanese capital.
The Tokyo law firm Tochigi and Yanagisawa, representing Agura Bokujo, posted the minutes and other related documents on its Japanese language website.
Rumors that Agura Bokujo will not be able to keep up its payments or buy cattle feed have been spreading, and predictions have been made that this situation will affect the cattle's upkeep, the minutes said.
The minutes also said that if the company pursued bankruptcy proceedings, concerns would appear about Agura Bokujo's capacity to pay for feed, so civil rehabilitation proceedings would be the best option.
Therefore, instead of ceasing operations, Agura Bokujo should continue them for the time being, continuing the cattle's upkeep while gradually disposing of them, the minutes said.
By the end of October, Agura Bokujo must submit notices to its creditors, who must submit their own notices to the company by Dec. 12. The company must then produce its rehabilitation plan proposal to the Tokyo District Court by Feb. 14, the agricultural daily Nihon Nogyo Shimbun reported.
The newspaper reported Agura Bokujo owes more than $57 million to 73,356 creditors.
Established in 1979, Agura Bokujo raises cattle on 370 farms.
A company executive said the leaking Fukushima Dai Ichi nuclear power plant, damaged by the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tidal wave, prompted Japanese customers to cancel contracts after radioactive cesium was detected in beef.