Japan woman jailed over cow inflation: Reports

TOKYO (AFP) - A former pasture manager who lied about the number of cows her company owned in a bid to attract investors has been jailed in Japan, reports said.

Kumiko Mikajiri, former president of a now bankrupt pasture, was sentenced to 34 months in prison for inflating the cattle count in a cow ownership scheme.

Mikajiri "provided to about 100 customers flyers that said 'you own a cow'... despite a significant shortage in their stock," a police spokesman said earlier.

The company reportedly had only half the herd it claimed.

The pasture, in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, went bankrupt in August 2011 as customers rushed to cancel contracts, under which they were told to expect high dividends from sales of calves born to cows they owned.

The rush came amid fears over radiation after the Fukushima nuclear plant was sent into meltdown when it was hit by the huge tsunami of March 2011.

Lawyers representing victims demanded Mikajiri be sentenced for the more serious crime of fraud, rather than for lying in a contract, the Mainichi Shimbun daily reported.

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