TOKYO: The Tokyo operator of a restaurant famous for its cinematic links to the movie "Kill Bill: Volume I" has agreed to shorten its hours as the city government began enforcing fines for businesses failing to comply with infection controls.
Global-Dining Inc, which runs the Gonpachi restaurant that inspired a fight scene in the Quentin Tarantino film, had flouted requests by the city government when a state of emergency over COVID-19 was declared in January.
The company said on Thursday it would close Tokyo-area restaurants at 8 p.m. through Sunday, obeying the request for just the last four days of the emergency period before it expires.
Global-Dining president Kozo Hasegawa had harshly criticised the closure requests and their economic impact, saying in a March 11 letter to the Tokyo government it was like "cutting off one's arm at the shoulder because the fingertip got infected."
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Thursday issued orders against 27 restaurants that had not complied with requests to close early as a means to control the COVID-19 virus. Under revised laws, businesses can be fined 300,000 yen (US$2,752.55) if they don't obey.
A representative of Global-Dining, which operates 43 eateries centered around Tokyo, said the company had not been cited under the new regulations and that it had a policy to comply with government orders.
Its Gonpachi restaurant, with a cavernous inner courtyard, inspired a bloody fight scene in Tarantino's first "Kill Bill" film and it was the site of a dinner between former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002.
(US$1 = 108.9900 yen)
(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Michael Perry)