A high-end sushi restaurant in Tokyo’s tony Ginza district sparked accusations of discrimination this week when it refused a reservation from a party of Chinese customers and said it had a policy against reservations from foreigners.
According to Asia One, Chinese journalist Mo Bangfu was attempting to make a reservation for four people at Sushi Mizutani, a high-end sushi restaurant that has two Michelin stars. Mo’s secretary, a Japanese woman, was making the reservation, and everything was reportedly fine until she gave her employer’s name, at which point the restaurant refused the reservation. The restaurant reportedly told her that it did not accept reservations from foreigners.
Mo says he called to make the reservation personally after that, but he was refused. Mo has reportedly been a resident of Japan for 30 years and speaks fluent Japanese.
A Sushi Mizutani employee said that the restaurant had an “across the board” policy against reservations from foreigners on the grounds that non-Japanese visitors were more likely to abandon their reservations.
"We prepare fish for the number of expected customers and have to turn down other requests for booking sometimes. We simply cannot afford it if people don't show up," the employee explained. "We don't think it is anything discriminatory.”
The restaurant clarified that it would accept foreigners as customers, but only if reservations were made through a hotel or a credit card company.