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Naha Ryotei restaurant owner busted, charged with organizing prostitution

Date Posted: 2008-11-21

The 65-year-old owner of one of Naha’s most famous, upscale restaurants has been arrested on charges he sent customers to his own hotel where girls were standing by to engage in prostitution.

Police say Yasuaki Uezu kept young girls at his hotel, waiting for VIP customers to be sent their way. Naha Ryotei is Naha City’s oldest restaurant, operating traditional Okinawa dance shows that attract thousands of tourists each year.

Uezu also runs his own hotel business, a hotel located near the Naha Ryotei.
Working from a tip, police conducted a stakeout at the hotel, determining the prostitution activities were done in a systematic way. Uezu denies the charges, telling investigators “I didn’t give any rooms for any prostitution work to customers. Never.” Police have confiscated hotel records and are now checking the backgrounds on hotel workers as the investigation continues.

Travel and tourist agencies are stunned by the revelations. “If it is being done in a systematic way,” said one agency owner upon hearing of the arrest and prostitution allegations, “we will have to change our plans. We won’t use this restaurant.” Another predicted the arrest “will give the Okinawa tourism business a big shock and will bring our image down.” Between the tourist agency business and its own website, Naha Ryotei has been ranked one of the top restaurants on Okinawa.

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