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Japan beer garden temporarily halts business due to bomb scare

The Hokkaido Prefectural Police headquarters. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

SAPPORO -- The Sapporo Beer Garden restaurant complex in this northern Japan city was forced to temporarily close on Nov. 26 and 27 after receiving postcards suggesting someone had planted bombs at the facility.

According to a representative of its operator Sapporo Holdings Ltd., a worker noticed that a postcard had arrived shortly past noon on Nov. 26, which said, "I will place explosives at several different beer halls between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Nov. 26 and detonate them." The beer garden in Sapporo's Higashi Ward closed its doors at 3 p.m. on the day for security purposes.

The restaurant complex resumed operations the following day, but a worker noticed at around 2:45 p.m. a similar postcard had arrived, and it temporarily halted business at 4 p.m. that day. The postcard said, "I'm planning to set explosives. I didn't execute my plan yesterday due to failed operations." Neither of the postcards included the sender's name.

The bomb threat led to the cancellation of reservations for some 650 customers. No explosives were found at the facility, and Hokkaido Prefectural Police's Sapporo Higashi Police Station is investigating the case as possible forcible obstruction of business.

(Japanese original by Yui Takahashi, Hokkaido News Department)

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