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Hotel chain allegedly broke rules after local certifications

Date Posted: 2006-02-04

Three Toyoko Inn hotels in Okinawa are being accused of violating its charters after government agencies approved design plans.

An investigation by Naha City shows Japan’s largest hotel chain redesigned hotel rooms to eliminate handicapped rooms, and modified designated handicapped parking to expand hotel lobbies. Toyoko Inn hotels are located in Naha City at Asahibashi Station, Miebashi Station, and in Omoromachi.

Officials say the hotel chain’s request for building permits contained the requisite documents and plans for building barrier-free handicapped rooms for disabled people. Representatives of disabled persons’ organizations who visited the hotels claim the handicapped rooms were converted to standard hotel rooms once the final building code inspections were complete.

The allegations also expand to charges the Toyoko Inns transformed designated handicapped parking spots into larger hotel lobbies, moving walls and redesigning the ground floor space once the inspections were finished.

Naha City began an investigation on Monday. The Toyoko Inns head office in mainland Japan had no comment. The local Okinawa manager says he doesn’t want to talk about the case yet.

Building inspectors for Naha City say they’ are checking the design plans, and will conduct their investigations in a thorough manner. Inspectors say they will look for code violations, parking issues, toilets and room changes, and other potential violations to the building plans which were approved at the time of construction. Hotel workers are apprehensive as they watch the investigation unfold, worried their jobs could be at stake.

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