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Hostess apologizes after club busted for operating outside legal hours

TOKYO (TR) – A popular hostess has issued an apology after her club in the Kabukicho red-light district was busted for operating outside of legal hours.

Early on February 1, police raided club Kanon and arrested six employees for operating after 1:00 a.m., the closing time mandated by the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.

All six employees, including Yoshihiro Arai, 30, admit to the allegations, police said.

Kaon is owned by Nonokai Sakurai. On February 7, she apologized for the incident on her YouTube channel. “I’m really sorry for betraying everyone who has supported me to this point,” she said, seated in the seiza position — with her feet tucked underneath her thighs — and wearing a dark suit.

250,000 subscribers on YouTube

Sakurai, 30, is a fashion icon. In addition to modeling for magazines and appearing on television programs, she is a popular figure on social media. Her aforementioned YouTube channel boasts more than 250,000 subscribers.

She has definitely invested in her appearance: In her Instagram profile, she claims to have spent more than 25 million yen on around 100 plastic surgery procedures.

Sakurai opened Kanon in December 2019. Since then, sales have totaled around 290 million yen, of which about 50 percent were accrued after 1:00 a.m., police said.

On two occasions last year, police issued warnings to the club about its operating hours. One of those warnings, in May, was issued during the state of emergency in effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The novel coronavirus, which began immediately after the club, made Kabukicho a ghost town, and it was difficult to protect the livelihoods of the employees, including myself,” Sakurai also said.

“I am taking this matter seriously”

According to the site of weekly tabloid Friday, a total of 34 riot police officers arrived in front of Kanon at around 1:30 a.m. on February 1. At the time, there were seven employees, 15 hostesses and 13 male customers inside. The front door was locked.

After the officers’ requesting to enter was denied, they used axes and other tools to break down the door.

In video footage posted online, riot police are shown escorting hostesses out of Kanon and into the street.

“I’m really sorry that I disappointed the expectations of everyone,” Sakurai added in the video, her voice choking and her eyes filling with tears. She then bowed her head for nearly 10 seconds.

The hostess also announced that she will be suspending her activities on YouTube.

“I am taking this matter seriously and would like to continue business in compliance with the instructions of the authorities,” she said in closing.