Japan's health minister says Chinese-made dumplings that left 10 people ill and sparked a nationwide food scare may have been deliberately poisoned with pesticide.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe said the evidence uncovered so far suggests that it is highly likely that the poisoning was a crime.
So far, tests in China have turned up no signs of the pesticide that Japanese authorities have blamed for making people sick.
Investigators in Japan have found punctures on the outside of at least one of the bags tied to the poisonings as well as traces of the pesticide. The source of the contamination has yet to be identified.
Today in Beijing, four Japanese officials began talks to discuss the food scare. They will later visit the factories where the dumplings were made.
Japanese and Chinese officials have already held two days of discussions in Tokyo as they try to work together to investigate the food scare.
In Japan, more than three-thousand people have contacted health authorities since the food scare began. The dumplings were made at a (Tianyang Food) plant in China's northern Hebei province.
China has been at the subject of a series of reports of contaminated and faulty products. The government says it has taken steps to reassure trading partners that its products are safe.