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Founder of Japanese supermarket chain arrested on charges of receiving prostitution revenue

Osaka police have arrested Takuji Maeda, the founder of theTamade supermarket chain, on charges ofreceiving prostitution revenue from a store rented to yakuza members. Tamade is famous in the Osaka area for havingridiculously low pricesas well as unique and colorful storefronts.
According to investigators, Maedaknowingly rented a storein Osakas Tobita Shinchi area (Osakas largest red light district) to members of the yakuza who wanted to use it for a prostitution business. The Tobita Shinchi business came into the spotlight in May when its manager and his wife was arrested for violating anti-prostitution laws following an investigation with a female employee.
Further investigation led to Maedas arrest on Dec 3. Apparently, he had been receivingtens of thousands of yenon a monthly basisfor rent from its former managers. The total profit he made off of this little side-business adds up tohundreds of thousands of yen..
In the past, Maeda has also been exposed for labor violationsregardingnon-Japanese employees, includingmaking foreigners on student visas work beyond their legally allowed allotment of working hours, so he doesnt have the best reputation.
Netizens have expressed mixed feelings about the arrest. While many dont exactly condone his actions, they also love theinsanely cheap pricesat Tamade. Heres what Twitter user @pagpagpag2001 had to say:
"All of the employees are old men. The stores smell like butts. The prepared food is abundant and under 200 yen. Onigiri are two for 45 yen. They sometimes forget to remove the poison from fugu. [Some items] are one for 1 yen and normal price from the second item. There are lots of non-Japanese. If you try to rob the store, youre made to strip and they wont give your clothes back whether youre male or female. Theres a wide selection of alcohol. They go as far as telling you the purchase dates of products. Its a well-known fact that [Tamade] is managed by the yakuza, but I still shop there because its so cheap.
There have also been comments like these:
Im from the Kanto area of Japan and I thought Tamade was a pachinko chain.
So the profits from prostitution supplemented the profits from the supermarkets?
Ive heard the rumors about Tamade for a while, so Im not surprised.
I raised my children on bento boxed lunches from Tamade.
This sounds like typical Osaka to me.
The investigation is still ongoing, and its not yet known what will happen to Maeda or Tamade stores. Given the seriousness of the allegations, though, things dont look good for the discount supermarket mogul or his chain.
Sources:Livedoor News/Sankei News,Otakomu
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