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Nakato Japanese Restaurant owner dies

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Joe Nakato, co-owner of Nakato Japanese Restaurant, has died at age 36 in an apparent suicide.

Police were dispatched to 2234 E. Richmond St. just before 2 p.m. Thursday, where Nakato was found dead, according to Lt. David Millsap with the Springfield Police Department.

The cause of death has not been finalized, but Tom VanDeBerg, an investigator with the Greene County Medical Examiner's office, said the death did not appear accidental, nor did it appear to involve anyone but Nakato. He declined to disclose further details.

Nakato manager Debbie Hicks said the restaurant, 2615 S. Glenstone Ave., would operate as usual this weekend but would likely be closed Monday and Tuesday.

"He was a very caring and generous person," Hicks said.

Funeral arrangements have not been made.

Nakato owned the restaurant with his father. The Nakato family opened the Springfield location in 1995 after success with locations in Charlotte, N.C., according to the restaurant's Web site.

Nakato's death was first reported by 417 Magazine on its blog.[[In-content Ad]]

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