Japan’s “Kill Bill” restaurant boss on Friday said he will defy Covid-19 restrictions even as the government declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and suggested that the businesses that break the rules could face new financial penalties.
Covid-19 related restrictions scheduled to run until 22 August include asking restaurants to close early and stop serving alcohol in exchange for a government subsidy.
On Thursday, Japan’s Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, also in charge of the pandemic response, suggested that he would ask banks to put pressure on eateries that do not comply with the stricter measures.
“We will respond by imposing penalties and other means against those who refuse to comply,” he said.
However, Kozo Hasegawa, who is the president of Global-Dining, which runs 43 restaurants including one that inspired a bloody fight scene in the movie “Kill Bill: Volume I”, said he would not obey the rules. Global-Dining’s Gonpachi restaurant was also the site of a dinner between then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and then US President George W Bush in 2002.
Mr Hasegawa told Reuters news agency said: “We will continue our ordinary operations all through this new state of emergency with alcoholic beverages served.”
Mr Hasegawa also expressed shock at the remarks of Mr Nishimura, who on Friday clarified that he did not mean to imply that loans should be withheld from such businesses.
On Friday, the Japanese government’s top spokesperson said it had decided banks would not be asked to press restaurants and bars that do not follow the government request to stop serving alcohol under the emergency restrictions.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that “we decided to keep ministries from pressuring individual financial institutions.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Japan has recorded about 810,000 cases including over 14,900 deaths.
Additional reporting by agencies