Two Vietnamese could face a prison term of two years for stealing and eating two goats kept in a Japanese park for research, according to media reports.
Le The Loc, 30, and Bui Van Vy, 22, were accused of stealing the goats in Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, last August, leading to their arrests in December on suspicion of theft.
The animals were among 16 goats being kept by a Gifu University professor in cooperation with the Minokamo city government to study the benefits of weeding using the animals, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
Japanese prosecutors sought on February 12 a prison term of two years for the pair.
The final ruling is scheduled to be handed down on February 27.
Loc reportedly came to Japan about two years ago under the Japanese government's Technical Intern Training Program.
The other defendant, Vy, is a junior college dropout.
In the hearings at the Gifu District Court, Loc lamented about the severe conditions he faced in Japan, including grueling work hours.
He said he put up his home in Vietnam as collateral to borrow money to come to Japan as he was promised lucrative wage and good working conditions by a labor broker.
He arrived in Japan in March 2013 as an agricultural trainee. He changed several jobs but things got worse for him until he resorted to repeatedly shoplifting bento lunch boxes and other food at supermarkets, according to media reports.
Around July 2014, he started living with Vy, who was also unemployed, in an apartment in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture.
Vy had come to Japan to study at a two-year junior college. However, he left school after becoming unable to afford the tuition.
In early August, about 20 Vietnamese acquaintances held a birthday party for one of them.
Loc drove six of the 20 attendees to the Minokamo park, while Vy actually stole the animals.
They then slaughtered the goats, worth around 70,000 Japanese yen (US$590) in total.