Tokyo Deems COVID-19 Business Restrictions Illegal

A Japanese court ruled Monday against Tokyo metropolitan government over its order for a restaurant chain company to cut business hours amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tokyo District Court found that the local government’s order was illegal and had not met the state’s revised coronavirus special measures law ordering businesses to cut operating hours in a state of emergency. The court ruled that the restriction imposed on Tokyo-based restaurant company Global-Dining Inc. had not met the state’s pandemic measures.

The court, however, rejected Global-Dining Inc.’s claim that said restricting businesses without evidence that eateries cause the spread of the virus violates the freedom of business guaranteed under the Constitution. 

Presiding Judge Norihiro Matsuda said the Tokyo metropolitan government could not be held liable for the damage the restriction caused to Global-Dining Inc.

Global-Dining Inc. filed a lawsuit against the metropolitan government over its directive on March 18, 2021 to close 26 restaurants after failing to comply with the initial order in January 2021. Global-Dining Inc. insisted it had taken preventive measures to lower the risks of infections.

The court said the metropolitan government failed to grasp the company’s anti-virus measures and had not provided a logical explanation for its order.

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