A former president of the Hiroshima Sogo department store was arrested on Tuesday for ordering his company to purchase 320m yen of out-of-fashion women's clothing over a four year period.

Prosecuters alleged that Yoshimi Waseda, - made to resign September 2000 to take responsibility for the company's business failures - committed breach of trust when he forced the store to purchase the products, even though he was aware of the difficulties involved in selling them.

The clothing was bought from a Tokyo-based wholesale subsidiary which filed for bankruptcy last year with debts of around 5.5b yen. 70 per cent of its shares are owned by Hiroshima Sogo.

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