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An Osaka-based construction firm again denied it had been involved in any systematic procurement of prostitutes during a recent employee trip to China, Senior Vice Foreign Minister Ichiro Aizawa said Thursday.

The firm apologized, nevertheless, for “causing trouble” with regard to Japan-China relations, according to Aizawa.

These comments were made Wednesday by a senior Kooki Corp. official who was questioned by a Foreign Ministry bureaucrat about an alleged orgy that took place on Sept. 17 at a hotel in Guangdong Province, Aizawa said.

“Systematic prostitute-buying did not take place,” the unnamed Kooki official was quoted as saying. “But generally speaking, we lacked consideration, and deeply reflect on the fact that we caused trouble to those involved in Japan-China relations.”

The Foreign Ministry will convey Kooki’s explanation to the Chinese government and to the Guangdong provincial government.

The ministry official who questioned the executive voiced regret that the firm’s employees may have acted to hurt the dignity of women, even if it was not systematic.

The official added that the company should have kept sufficient watch over the actions of individual employees, Aizawa said.

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