WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of State ranked Japan in the second tier of its annual human trafficking report released Friday, listing “high school walking” as a recent human trafficking trend in Japan.
This is Japan’s 10th consecutive year in Tier 2, which has a watch list that includes China, Cambodia and Ukraine. The lowest category is Tier 3, which includes Russia, Iran, North Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.
In high school walking, called “joshi kosei osanpo” in Japanese, “girls are offered money to accompany men on walks, in cafes or to hotels, and engage in commercial sex,” the report said.
The 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report also reviewed the Japanese phenomenon of “enjo kosai,” or “compensated dating,” noting that it “continues to facilitate the prostitution of Japanese children,” since emerging in the 1990s.
Some women and children from abroad “travel to Japan for employment or fraudulent marriage and are subsequently forced into prostitution,” the report said.
It also pointed out that Japanese men continue to be a “significant source of demand for child sex tourism in Southeast Asia and, to a lesser extent, Mongolia.”
In addition, the report said migrant male and female workers who come to Japan are “subjected to conditions of forced labor, sometimes through the (Japanese) government’s Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program (TTIP).”
The Japanese government “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” the report said. It then urged the country to draft and enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.
In the report, 31 countries and regions were listed in the highest category, Tier 1, including the United States and South Korea, while 23 countries were rated in the lowest, Tier 3. Those in Tier 3 can be subject to U.S. sanctions.
Somalia was singled out in the report as a special case.