Tokyo COVID curbs declared illegal in "Kill Bill" restaurant case

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Businessmen wearing protective face masks walk on a pedestrian bridge, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in a business district in Tokyo, Japan June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

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TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) - Japan's "Kill Bill" restaurant operator prevailed in a court case on Monday that declared Tokyo's now defunct COVID-19 infection curbs were illegal.

The orders, enacted in the capital during various states of emergency, included shortened operating hours and a ban on alcohol sales, though there was a compensating government subsidy. Businesses that didn't comply were subject to fines.

Global-Dining Inc (7625.T), which runs more than 40 restaurants, defied the restrictions, taking the city government to court over the matter. read more

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The district court said the Tokyo government had not provided a "rational explanation" for the measures. The court determined they had been illegal but it denied Global-Dining's claim for 104 yen ($0.80) in damages.

The restrictions ended in March. Whether this ruling would inhibit the city government in acting against any renewed COVID-19 outbreak is unclear.

In a statement, Global-Dining president Kozo Hasegawa, said the case revealed the "injustice and sloppiness of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government." His company crowd-funded more than 25 million yen to fight the case.

Global-Dining's Gonpachi restaurant, with a cavernous inner courtyard, inspired the fight scene in Quentin Tarantino's first "Kill Bill" film. It was the site of a dinner between then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and then U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002.

($1 = 129.3600 yen)

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Reporting by Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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