• Kyodo

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Aoki Urban Development Corp., the operator of Westin Hotel Osaka, said Tuesday it has asked the Tokyo District Court to protect its assets from creditors under the fast-track Civil Rehabilitation Law.

The Osaka-based company, swamped by debts of 31.5 billion yen, will continue operating the hotel while seeking sponsor firms to help it improve business conditions, it said.

Aoki Urban Development was founded in 1989 as a subsidiary of construction firm Aoki Corp., which invoked the same law in 2001. The company opened the hotel in 1993.

Intensified competition with rivals made it difficult for the hotel to raise funds, industry officials said.

Aoki Urban Development incurred a 750 million yen pretax loss in 2002 on operating revenue of 6.1 billion yen.

The company will convene a meeting Sunday to explain its rehabilitation plan to some 620 creditors, it said.

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