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Popular ramen chain Ichiran suspected of having foreign students work illegal hours

In this Nov. 5, 2013 file photo, a 24-hour operating Ichiran food stand is seen in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward. (Mainichi)

OSAKA -- Police are set to send papers to prosecutors on popular ramen restaurant chain operator Ichiran and its workers as early as by the end of this week for allegedly having foreign students work illegal hours at its outlet here, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

    The ramen shop operator based in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward and its employees in charge of labor management are suspected of violating the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. According to investigative sources, the workers at Ichiran's headquarters allegedly had Vietnamese students and other employees at a restaurant in Osaka's Chuo Ward work more hours than the legal limit of 28 hours per week last year.

    In November 2017, Osaka Prefectural Police arrested a Vietnamese woman who used to be a student in Japan and worked part time at an Ichiran shop in the Dotonbori district of Osaka's Chuo Ward over the suspected violation of the immigration control law for allegedly engaging in activities outside her permitted status of residence. Police have since searched the restaurant headquarters and other locations for possible organizational involvement. In addition, prefectural police have been investigating more than 10 foreign nationals, including Vietnamese students, on suspicion of violating the immigration control act.

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