In a case in which the former president of Kappa Create, which operates the rotating sushi chain "Kappa Sushi," was accused of illegally taking out data that was equivalent to the trade secrets of a rival chain where he used to work, the Tokyo District Court pointed out that "there is nothing to extenuate in the greedy motive of gaining a position or reputation at a new job," and handed down a suspended sentence.

Kimimi Tanabe, 47, who was the president of Kappa Create, which operates Kappa Sushi, was charged with violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Act by copying data related to the purchase of Hama Sushi and comparing it with his own data when he changed jobs from the parent company of the rival chain Hama Sushi to Kappa Create three years ago.

In his ruling on March 3, Judge Kiichi Hiraide of the Tokyo District Court pointed out that "information such as business partners and cost ratios was the result of Hama Sushi's strategic product design, and if used by competitors, it could improve product development and purchasing.

On the other hand, on the grounds that no specific damage has been confirmed, he was sentenced to three years in prison, four years of suspended sentence, and a fine of 31 million yen.

In this case, a former subordinate before former President Tanabe changed jobs received a summary order for a fine of 3,4 yen.

Kappa Create as a corporation and the then head of the merchandise division pleaded not guilty at trial.

Former President Tanabe: "We will take it seriously and strive to restore trust"

After the ruling, former President Tanabe made a comment, saying, "We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and we will take the ruling seriously and strive to restore trust."

Kappa Create, which operates Kappa Sushi, commented, "We take this ruling very seriously, and we will continue to work to prevent recurrence by thoroughly fostering an information management system and compliance awareness throughout the company."

On the other hand, Zensho Holdings, the parent company of Hama Sushi, also commented, "We accept that the claim that cost data is the fruit of many years of sales efforts and trial and error, is extremely important as a source of competitiveness, and that it should not be allowed to be taken out and used by competitors for selfish motives. In order to deter similar crimes and protect the fairness of commercial transactions, we would like to appeal for law enforcement based on the purpose of the revision of the law to improve the deterrent effect of trade secret infringement."