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Translated by: MOS Education Team – Wenqin


The Tokyo District Court ruled on May 16 that the Tokyo metropolitan government’s order to shorten business hours as a measure to prevent and control the spread of the CCP virus (Covid-19) was “not particular necessary” and “illegal.” However, the court dimissed the claim filed by the Plaintiff, restaurant chain Global-Dining, that the order violated the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of business.

Global-Dining President Kozo Hasegawa (second from left). (Picture from KYODO)

Global-Dining is a large restaurant chain with 41 stores, including Gonpachi, Monsoon Cafe and Cafe La Boheme, located primarily in the Tokyo metropolitan area. From January to March 2021, Tokyo declared a state of emergency for the second time under the Special Measures Act, during which the Tokyo Metropolitan government required restaurants to close their business operations by 8pm. Global-Dining stated on its website, “With the current administrative subsidies and government support, we cannot meet the requirements for shortening working hours because it is unable to maintain daily business and employee employment.” The company then continued normal business operations.

On March 18, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government issued a “Short Hours Order” to 27 stores that did not comply with the requirements, 26 of which were operated by Global-Dining. 4 days later, on March 21, the order was lifted. As a result, Global-Dining sued the Tokyo government for damages, claiming that it violated the constitution that guarantees commercial freedom. In the lawsuit, the company claimed that it had become the “target” of the governor of Tokyo because it expressed its intention to refuse to shorten working hours on its website. The company claims that this was a purposeful attack against the counter-opinion. Moreover, the purpose and intent of the “Short Hours Order” is unlawful.

The Court rejected Global-Dining’s claim for damages and ruled that the order “cannot be said to be an unreasonable measure, does not infringe on commercial freedom, nor does it violate the constitution.” On the other hand, noting that the “Short Hours Order” lasted only four days, the court pointed out, “there is no reasonable explanation for the necessity for the Governor of Tokyo to issue a Short Hours Order that would only be in effect for four days.” The court then concluded that the order did not meet the requirements of the “Special Measures Act”, and that the necessity of a short-term order could not be recognized, therefore it was “illegal.”

However, the decision to dismiss the claim has not changed on the grounds that the governor of Tokyo did not violated his duty of care. After the verdict, Mr. Hasegawa, president of Global-Dining, said: “I think that the judge of our appeal understands about 75%. I am not satisfied with the way the Tokyo Metropolitan Government won the case and have entrusted an appeal.”

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Proofread by:  Penelope
Edited and Posted by: Penelope

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