MIE (TR) – The controversial chairman of a popular confectioner in Ise City has resigned to take responsibility for selling alcohol to a criminal syndicate, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 19).
On January 16, Masutane Hamada, 84, resigned as chairman of Hamada Sogyo, which operates the shop Akafuku, due to manufacture and sale of bottles of the distilled spirit shochu for the gang between 2000 and 2012.
Over that period, Iseman, a subsidiary of Hamada Sogyo, produced and sold 3,466 bottles of shochu with the gang’s crest and another 4,714 bottles without the crest. Sales of the bottles over that time totaled 15 million yen.
The matter emerged in December after Mie Prefectural Police arrested a man for using an empty bottle with a crest to extort Hamada Sogyo.
Hamada then authorized a third-party committee to investigate. The results of the investigation showed that Hamada authorized the sales. A source told Fuji News Network (Feb. 19) that the gang is based in Nagoya and an affiliate of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
This is not the first time Hamada has drawn attention to Akafuku, which is located in the Okage Yokocho shopping district at Ise Shrine.
In 2007, he resigned as chairman after the shop sold mislabeled pastries with lapsed expiration dates. However, he resumed his chairmanship in 2017.
Hamada made headlines again in November, 2013 for saying at a forum held in Tsu City that he didn’t “want to see foreigners” coming to Okage Yokocho.
When asked to clarify his remarks by the Mainichi Shimbun, he denied being discriminatory. “Ise is the spiritual homeland of the Japanese people,” he said. “I want it to be a place that the people of Japan can find pleasing.”