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

By Shannon McNaught, SoraNews24

Osaka police have arrested Takuji Maeda, the founder of the Tamade supermarket chain, on charges of receiving prostitution revenue from a store rented to yakuza members. Tamade is famous in the Osaka area for having ridiculously low prices as well as unique and colorful storefronts.

According to investigators, Maeda knowingly rented a store in Osaka’s Tobita Shinchi area (Osaka’s 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 Maeda’s arrest on Dec 3. Apparently, he had been receiving tens of thousands of yen on a monthly basis for rent from its former managers. The total profit he made off of this little side-business adds up to hundreds of thousands of yen..

In the past, Maeda has also been exposed for labor violations regarding non-Japanese employees, including making foreigners on student visas work beyond their legally allowed allotment of working hours, so he doesn’t have the best reputation.

Netizens have expressed mixed feelings about the arrest. While many don’t exactly condone his actions, they also love the insanely cheap prices at Tamade. Here’s 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, you’re made to strip and they won’t give your clothes back – whether you’re male or female. There’s a wide selection of alcohol. They go as far as telling you the purchase dates of products. It’s a well-known fact that [Tamade] is managed by the yakuza, but I still shop there because it’s so cheap.”

There have also been comments like these:

“I’m 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?”

“I’ve heard the rumors about Tamade for a while, so I’m 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 it’s not yet known what will happen to Maeda or Tamade stores. Given the seriousness of the allegations, though, things don’t look good for the discount supermarket mogul or his chain.

Sources: Livedoor News/Sankei News, Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Well this surprised exactly no-one.

Forced prostitution, where it occurs, should be stopped. But I also hope this chain survives. Tamade has given me so much for so little yen!! Many a poorly-paid eikaiwa teacher has been saved by their low prices (stay away from the sashimi and you’ll be okay)

also, Tamade’s sign is quite nostalgic. As if some was back in 80’s/90’s Japan. And it fits Osaka’s atmosphere well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tobita Shinchi is full of brothels presumably run by or connected to the yakuza in some way. Why have the authorities targeted this one? The money involved isn't much either. I'm curious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I always thought Tamade supermarkets look like British seaside arcades.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I like the idea of striping shoplifters and not giving their clothes back.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I love Super Tamade. That place is a hobo's a dream. Cheap food and liquor. It's hard to imagine anything in Tobita Shinchi not being tied up with the yakuza.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I want to go to Osaka just to shop at Tamade just to check out the ridiculously low prices plus film the action when some poor sap tries to rob the place and is forced to strip!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The prepared food is abundant and under 200 yen.

I don't want to know what's in any of their special sauces.

A notorious part of Osaka within a short walk of the newly gentrified Abeno Harukas/Tennoji station area . Not sure why a supermarket owner, however seedy, can't make money from the oldest profession while the dozens of shopfronts in the adjacent little Amsterdam can.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile the real crooks are firmly in control of their scams.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The first time I saw Super Tamade, I thought it was a pachinko parlour until I saw the bananas outside. Now that I know that they're selling women's "services" the word "tama de" has another meaning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Living on the immoral earnings of a prostitute used to be the charge in some countries but since prostitution has been legalised the owners of brothels are now "Respected Businessmen (and Women)". Prostitution has been illegal in Japan since 1957---perhaps it's time for a change.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He probably didn’t have much of a say in the matter. Either he does what they want or something bad will happen. Taking the money just shifts the blame to him. It’s not like he can name names.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ll of the employees are old men. The stores smell like butts.-Funny

They sometimes forget to remove the poison from fugu.- Dangerous.

There are lots of non-Japanese.- Not a big deal.

If you try to rob the store, you’re made to strip and they won’t give your clothes back – whether you’re male or female- Really? Then you should not be staeling. I fell out of my chair when I read this.

There’s a wide selection of alcohol- Show me a supermarket in Japan that does not.

And the kicker-I still shop there because it’s so cheap.”- In the end shoppers are still going to buy there and that is the sad truth.- Welcome to Japan!

It’s a well-known fact that [Tamade] is managed by the yakuza,- It would seem so.

“I raised my children on bento boxed lunches from Tamade.”- I feel bad for those kids. I would not be proud of this statement.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

....and how many yakuza are being prosecuted for carrying on prostitution? (⌒▽⌒)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why target this one? Other supermarkets in the area feeling the pinch where every last yen matters, wanting to remove the 'unfair' competition at last?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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