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Tokyo to launch probe into Zhuhai hotel orgy
( 2003-10-08 08:51) (China Daily)

Japan will investigate reports that a group of Japanese tourists hired hundreds of prostitutes for an orgy in a Zhuhai hotel in Guangdong Province on the eve of a sensitive anniversary relating to the Japanese occupation of China, a top government spokesman said in Tokyo Tuesday.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said that Tokyo was told on Sunday by the Guangdong authorities that they had verified Japanese tourists took part in the orgy.

"If it took place, then it is truly regrettable," he said, adding that it wasn't clear how many people were involved.

Chinese police have already detained suspects and closed the Zhuhai International Conference Centre Hotel where more than 400 Japanese male tourists allegedly had sex with some 500 Chinese prostitutes from September 16-18. The date marks the onset of attacks by Japanese forces in 1931 that saw the start of the 14-year occupation of China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan called the case "extremely odious" and asked the Japanese Government to "strengthen education of its citizens in this regard".

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also said the incident had sparked strong fury among Chinese people and called on Tokyo to "enhance law-abiding awareness among its citizens travelling abroad to safeguard Japan's international image".

The men taking part in the orgy were believed to be part of a company tour, and Fukuda said the government would launch an investigation into the firm. He did not elaborate.

The fracas has also been carried prominently by Japanese media, which have reported the tourists were in China as part of a trip arranged by a construction company based in the western Japan city of Osaka.

The name of the company has been withheld by the media.

A spokesman for the company acknowledged that some employees were at the hotel at the time but denied there had been an organized orgy.

"Some of the employees may have done something like that (patronizing prostitutes) and that may have led to a misunderstanding," a company official said earlier.

Wide coverage of the orgy in the Chinese media sparked fury across the country, especially on the Internet.

Netizens left hundreds of postings on websites accusing the tourists of trying to humiliate China by timing the orgy on the date of the 1931 Japanese attack on the northeastern city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province.

After the initial reports surfaced, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said she regretted "the kind of act that would damage women's dignity" and urged Japanese tourists to obey the laws of China.

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