BlackEnterprise.com, an African American online magazine, posted an article on February 3, of Jiji Press News on the Web (fee subscribtion) about Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that send a mission to China and South Korea to urge China to protect intellectual property rights relating to agricultural products.
The mission, that will take place from Sunday to Wednesday in the two countries, is composed of 21 ministry officials, local government representatives and business people to raise awareness of "Japanese brands" to prevent their illegal cultivation and promote domestic crop exports.
Jiji Press News on the Web stated that "Japanese brand" products as strawberry and cherry have been hit by a string of illegal exports, agriculture ministry officials said.
See the BlackEnterprise.com article here.
The Japanese misson to China (and South Korea) indicates that bilateral diplomatic pressure all but died out since these mentioned states can use WTO's dispute settlement system, when there is non-compliance with the TRIPS agreement. The WTO's dispute settlement system is probably perceived as an ultimum remedium.
Too bad the article does not elaborate about the protection of these 'brands'. Maybe the produce is trademarked, but more likely it is protected by geographical indication. As a contracting state of the Paris Convention China (whose entry into force was March 19, 1985) has to take measures against direct or indirect use of a false indication of the source of the goods or the identity of the producer, manufacturer or trader (article 1 juncto article 10 and article 10ter).