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Tobita Shinchi: Supermarket founder fined for leasing brothel

OSAKA (TR) –  Last week, a court here fined the founder of the Super Tamade supermarket chain for leasing an establishment in a brothel quarter in Nishinari Ward while knowing it was operating in violation of the law, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 17).

On December 14, the Osaka Summary Court ordered Takuji Maeda, 74, to pay a fine of 300,000 yen for receiving 1.35 million yen in rent payments over a three-month period while knowing that Ginga (Milky Way), located in the Tobita Shinchi quarter, was supplying male customers with full sex (honban), which is a violation of the Anti-Prostitution Law.

On Monday, Maeda issued a comment on the situation. “I am reflecting [upon the matter],” he said.

The matter emerged in May after police arrested Toshio Asano, an upper-level member of the Kyokushin Rengo-kai, an affiliate gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, worked with his common-law wife, who managed Ginga, on suspicion of providing prostitution.

Takuji Maeda
Takuji Maeda (Twitter)

Revealing clothing

Tobita Shinchi consists of alleys of brightly lit two-floor ryotei structures. In the first-floor doorway of each establishment sits a woman attired in revealing clothing. Next to her is an elderly female proprietor who verbally solicits clients.

Ginga was formerly an outlet of Super Tamade, which is known for its colorful and gaudy storefronts and low prices. The space was sold in July, according to the Tobita Shinchi cooperative union.

The name used to register Milky Way with local authorities and the cooperative union was that of a 61-year-old woman. Police later determined that the common-law wife of Asano was the actual proprietor.

At the time of Maeda’s arrest earlier this month, police suspected that he received a total of 20 million yen in rent from Ginga.

“I wasn’t aware of the true state of the operation of the business,” Maeda also said in the comment in referring to Milky Way. “We have absolutely no connection to yakuza or antisocial forces.”