SHIJIAZHUANG, China — The head of a Chinese factory that produced frozen meat dumplings linked to food poisoning cases in Japan said Friday that the company is a victim of the scandal and that he hopes to resume operations in the near future.
Di Menglu, head of the Tianyang Food factory, said at a press conference that he is considering demanding compensation for the damage the company has suffered because of the incident.
''In effect, we are the biggest victim in this case,'' Di said. ''We have not only suffered huge economic damage, but our honor has been hurt badly.''
Production at the factory was halted after it was revealed in late January that 10 people in two Japanese prefectures had suffered food poisoning since December after eating dumplings produced by the factory in northern China's Hebei Province and imported by a Japanese company.
Japanese police investigating the food poisoning have detected traces of a highly toxic organophosphate pesticide called methamidophos in the dumplings or on their packages.
Di said that the company will consider seeking compensation but that he had not yet calculated the amount he would demand and did not say from whom he would demand it.
''We hope very strongly that the truth will be found out as soon as possible and that we can return to normal production and management,'' he added.
In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said he could not comment on the factory head's remarks as he had not heard them, but added that any plan to resume operations at the facility should wait until the results of the investigations into the food poisoning incidents are released.
''I suppose the head of the factory would want to get the factory running at an early time, but food safety is a very serious issue,'' Machimura told a press conference.
''I also hear that investigations are still ongoing, so I believe (the factory) should naturally handle the matter based on the results,'' the top Japanese government spokesman said.