A number of local Chinese vendors are reportedly selling saplings of a variety of Japanese apple online in China, and doing so without consent of the registered rights holder, according to Japan's national public broadcasting organization NHK.
The variety in question is the Chiyuki. It was developed in Japan's Aomori Prefecture, a well-known apple-growing area in the nation's northeast.
Aomori's Industrial Technology Research Center registered the variety in China four years ago, commented the publication. Thus, before anyone can sell or grow Chiyuki brand apples in China, they need to obtain the center's consent.
Still, NHK has reported claims that the sapling was available for purchase on a major Chinese online shopping site.
Upon hearing the news, the research center asked the Japanese government for help to confirm if any saplings have been improperly exported, said the publication.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Japan has faced this type of situation.
Japan's fruit exports have been rising in recent times. However, the publication emphasized that some of their fruit varieties have been shipped and grown overseas without permission. These include varieties of strawberries, grapes and other items.
Meanwhile, regarding the apple industry in China, while it is currently the world's largest producer of apples, it has seen a significant drop in the volume it's produced this season.
In April and May, frost, heavy rain and hail significantly damaged apple crops in its major producing provinces. And as a result, the price of apples has been soaring in the nation.
The lower supply and rising prices have been worrying to Beijing, CNBC previously noted.