U.N. official backtracks on Japan schoolgirl ‘compensated dating’ claim

by

Staff Writer

A special rapporteur for the United Nations has effectively retracted her earlier allegation that 13 percent of schoolgirls in Japan are engaged in enjo kosai, or compensated dating, the government’s top spokesman said Wednesday in Tokyo.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, had sent a letter in which she backed away from her earlier claim. De Boer-Buquicchio visited Japan late last month.

The government had strongly protested to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding comments by de Boer-Buquicchio, demanding that she explain on what data her claim was based.

In the letter, she admitted there is “no public, recent” data to back up her allegation, and promised not to use the figure in a report she plans to submit to the United Nations, Suga told a regular news conference.

“We take this explanation as an effective retraction” of her remark, Suga said.

On Tuesday, Suga told reporters that Japan “could never accept” her claim because its basis was unclear and it could “help cause international misunderstandings” about schoolgirls in Japan.

Enjo kosai, which often involves prostitution, was once considered rampant among certain schoolgirls, in particular in the late 1990s.

A 1996 survey by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government found that 4.6 percent of 504 female high school students in Tokyo who responded said they had engaged in enjo kosai at least once.

A 1997 survey by the Benesse group, an Okayama-based education company, likewise found that 4.4 percent of 868 high school girls in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture who responded said they had engaged in enjo kosai.

  • Hendrix

    First UNESCO backs down on the Nanking massacre issue and now this! ..it’s plain sickening what Japan is getting away with, this only seeks to embolden the right wing and nationalists who refuse to allow Japan to be criticised by the ” barbarians” in the outside world… the problem of Enjokosai will not go away and it will only get worse now… sad really

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      Japan has been rewarded for bullying the UN in the past, and has therefore learnt that bullying works.
      Won’t stop schoolgirl prostitution though.

      • jones

        “the WWII sex-slaves”? They were just prostitutes.

    • Clickonthewhatnow

      The U.N. has not necessarily backed off, they’re just backtracking. They said “13% of schoolgirls” are involved in compensated dating, then Japan went “Oh? Show us your proof”, and then the U.N. rep said “actually, I don’t have that proof. I just really thought the number 13 sounded about right (last part is just sarcasm)”

      God forbid countries should call on the U.N. to be precise in what it claims.

      • letteradegree

        Actually, the number 13% did come from somewhere… she just doesn’t want to admit where the number came from, because her expense report for her fact finding mission will probably be rejected. (She got the number from dodgy English blogs on Asia/Japan posted in the late 20th century via a web search).

      • Clickonthewhatnow

        Wouldn’t it be rejected anyhow, given that she goes around spouting numbers she can’t back up, or is that okay for U.N. members?

      • 108

        “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Indeed.

    • tisho

      It’s called bribery. Money makes the world go round and round.. remember?

    • Ronald W. Nixon

      Notice there is nothing called “ENJOY KOSAI” in America. This is a fundamental difference between Christian democracies with a functioning Second Amendment, and uncolonized nations that never experienced the privilege of turning to the love of Christ. Japan can be saved, but it must want to receive the gift.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        No, in America it’s called ‘school girl prostitution’ and ‘statutory rape’, and the US doesn’t pretend that it doesn’t happen, and throw a tizzy fit like Suga.

      • Ronald W. Nixon

        The UN is just looking to create problems to justify budgets for NGOs. Nothing to see here, move along.

      • answer_frog

        There are plenty of escorts — a big industry in the US — and even dating websites to find “sugar daddies”. All legal.

      • answer_frog

        There are plenty of escorts — a big industry in the US — and even dating websites to find “sugar daddies”. All legal.

      • DA

        Troll warning… Nice nickname, haha.

      • Tabula Rasa

        Sadly, after a quick look at his comments, I think he might be serious…and that could be a real name.

      • Tabula Rasa

        Sadly, after a quick look at his comments, I think he might be serious…and that could be a real name.

    • answer_frog

      The 1990s called, they want their media panic urban legend back. Anyone going on about “enjo kosai” decades later is showing off their ignorance. I bet you think there are vending machines with used panties all over.

      • letteradegree

        I look forward to the upcoming UN special envoy report on the health epidemic spawned by the eyeball licking and bagel head bodymod craze currently sweeping Japan.

      • Jonathan Fields

        No, but there are porn vending machines. There’s one by my house. I’ve also overheard schoolgirls talking about enjo kosai at Saize.

        This lady is a dummy, though.

    • answer_frog

      The 1990s called, they want their media panic urban legend back. Anyone going on about “enjo kosai” decades later is showing off their ignorance. I bet you think there are vending machines with used panties all over.

  • letteradegree

    Here’s the main dodgy source that the “U.N. expert” used:

    The 13% number comes from the blog (posing as a newspaper: “Asia Times”) post published in 2008 from an expat based in Hong Kong who claimed to interview a Japanese girl in Hong Kong and got the 13% number from the expat advertising mag The Tokyo Weekender which did an unscientific on-the-street and email survey.

    The original article that The Tokyo Weekender published is no longer available online, and the Asian sex specialty expat, “William Sparrow” (one of many pen names for NJ native SE Asia expat Frank Visakay), who was a NY chef before moving to Hong Kong, maintained a website called “Asian Sex Gazette”. Which is currently down. He wrote many books about having sex in SE Asia: RED-LIGHT NIGHTS, BANGKOK DAZE and JASMINE FEVER.

    The reason his site is down is probably because he’s dead: passed away in 2010.

    • Clickonthewhatnow

      Good to know she’s getting paid to use Google.

    • Steve Jackman

      Vice News did an excellent documentary recently titled, “Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan”, which sheds light on the problem of enjo kosai (compensated dating) by high school girls in Japan. The documentary and article, dated July 21, 2015, are available on the Vice Website. Here’s an extract:

      “Japan’s obsession with cutesy culture has taken a dark turn, with schoolgirls now offering themselves for “walking dates” with adult men. Last year the US State Department, in its annual report on human trafficking, flagged so-called joshi-kosei osanpo dates (that’s Japanese for “high school walking”) as fronts for commercial sex run by sophisticated criminal networks.

      In our exclusive investigation, VICE News host Simon Ostrovsky will bring you to one of Tokyo’s busiest neighborhoods, where girls solicit clients in their school uniforms, to a concert performed by a band of schoolgirls attended by adult men, and into a café, where teenage girls are available to hire by the hour. But the true revelations come behind closed doors, when schoolgirls involved in the rent-a-date industry reveal how they’ve been coerced into prostitution.”

      So, this is clearly a problem in Japan. Whether the actual percentage is 13 percent or not does not change this fact.

      • R0ninX3ph

        Despite how I hate the Idol industry in Japan, it is completely unrelated to Enjo Kosai and that Vice “News” documentary was ridiculous.

        Making it sound like it happens everywhere in Japan, and not specifically a metropolis problem.

        Not to mention, 18-19 year old University students are often wearing those uniforms in places like Akihabara, and they still call themselves “JK”.

      • Steve Jackman

        You have entirely mischaracterized the documentary. It is about highschool girls getting paid by older men for adult services, including sex. It is not about the idol industry in Japan, even though the connection between the two is explored. I urge everyone to see the documentary online on the Vice magazine Website and decide for themselves. I have posted a link here to it, “Schoolgirls for Sale in Japan” on the Vice Website, but it is being reviewed by the JT moderators. It should be approved and available here shortly.

      • letteradegree

        Calling anything “Vice” puts out a “documentary” is a little rich. Respected journalism ethics groups (ie. Poynter Institute) have said “Vice often offers journalism akin to personal essays” and said their work is more affiliated with entertainment rather than hard-hitting news.

        Their raison d’être is so ridiculous (content that appeals to Hipster Counter Culture fetishes) that much like Steven Colbert parodying Bill O’Reilly, The Onion regularly parodies Vice in a video series called “Edge”.

        In particular, do a web search and watch “Kisha Nai: Inside The Japanese Subculture Of Ignoring American Reporters Even If They’re Rad As Hell” where The Onion nails Vice’s M.O. with respect to Japan.

      • Steve Jackman

        So, you’re discounting Jake Adelstein as a journalist and casting doubt on his integrity? It would appear so, since he was involved in the making of this documentary and provides commentary in the documentary.

      • letteradegree

        Well, he didn’t get the nickname “Jake the Fake” in the press community because of his journalism awards. He has been called things far less charitable by those in the news industry.

        His New Yorker profile states:

        … reporters told me that he was a liar”, “A Missouri friend … once said that Adelstein was still essentially an actor. “There’s a degree to which anybody who becomes a character does so through self-fashioning,” …. “I think of Josh in this way,” … “He decided that he wanted to become this international man of mystery.”

        As a journalist, he tends to be discounted by real professionals due to his massive over-reliance on unverifiable anonymous sources. Very little of what he writes can be verified by third parties.

      • letteradegree

        Well, he didn’t get the nickname “Jake the Fake” in the press community because of his journalism awards. He has been called things far less charitable by those in the news industry.

        His New Yorker profile states:

        … reporters told me that he was a liar”, “A Missouri friend … once said that Adelstein was still essentially an actor. “There’s a degree to which anybody who becomes a character does so through self-fashioning,” …. “I think of Josh in this way,” … “He decided that he wanted to become this international man of mystery.”

        As a journalist, he tends to be discounted by real professionals due to his massive over-reliance on unverifiable anonymous sources. Very little of what he writes can be verified by third parties.

      • Blair

        Is that the same guy who said he dropped a 300 pound bouncer with one punch…with no witnesses to corroborate the tale?

      • letteradegree

        Calling anything “Vice” puts out a “documentary” is a little rich. Respected journalism ethics groups (ie. Poynter Institute) have said “Vice often offers journalism akin to personal essays” and said their work is more affiliated with entertainment rather than hard-hitting news.

        Their raison d’être is so ridiculous (content that appeals to Hipster Counter Culture fetishes) that much like Steven Colbert parodying Bill O’Reilly, The Onion regularly parodies Vice in a video series called “Edge”.

        In particular, do a web search and watch “Kisha Nai: Inside The Japanese Subculture Of Ignoring American Reporters Even If They’re Rad As Hell” where The Onion nails Vice’s M.O. with respect to Japan.

      • R0ninX3ph

        You have entirely missed my point about the “documentary”, it claims Enjo Kosai is this Japan wide issue that occurs in all corners of Japan, and yet their entire expose seems to be limited to Akihabara alone, and then goes to the point of linking compensated dating, with the idol industry and other issues all together.

        I am not claiming that Enjo Kosai is not an issue, but the Vice “documentary” tries to paint it as this thing that thousands upon thousands of Japanese high school girls are doing in every single prefecture of Japan, and it just isn’t true.

      • Steve Jackman

        Akihabara is very much representative of Tokyo and other big cities in Japan. It is not known as a red-light district, so if these things happen in the open there, they happen elsewhere in Japan also.

      • R0ninX3ph

        Again, I’m not denying that enjo kosai happens, I am claiming that the “documentary” is ridiculous.

        I’m also not claiming Enjo Kosai only happens in Akihabara, but the documentary talks about it happening in Akihabara and extrapolates that because it happens so much there, it happens in equal frequency everywhere else in Japan.

        It also makes strenuous links between Enjo Kosai and the Idol Industry, and while I think the idol industry itself is equally exploitative and terrible, it is unrelated to enjo kosai itself.

        Child prostitution is terrible and definitely needs to be fought against, but that “documentary” is just, in my mind, quite ridiculous and clouds the issue with unrelated rubbish.

        One of the scenes in it shows a guy telling them they “cannot film the girls in the street” which they interpret as the “pimp wanting to hide his nefarious deeds”, when in actual fact, there are serious issues in Japan about taking photos and using them without permission. The reporters quite clearly ignore that possibility and just assume its because he doesn’t want his “hoes” to be caught.

      • Blair

        Akihabara is most certainly not representative of the rest of Japan. It is the heart of otaku culture and is a mishmash of electronic emporiums, maid cafes and geek collectible stores. The “Documentary” makes innocuous maid cafes out to be brothels while they are massage parlours staffed by University girls at worst. Mostly they are simply cafes where lonely geeks pay to sit and talk with girls. In the 90s there used to be much worse “telephone” clubs but the government clamped down and legislated them out of business

      • Blair

        Akihabara is most certainly not representative of the rest of Japan. It is the heart of otaku culture and is a mishmash of electronic emporiums, maid cafes and geek collectible stores. The “Documentary” makes innocuous maid cafes out to be brothels while they are massage parlours staffed by University girls at worst. Mostly they are simply cafes where lonely geeks pay to sit and talk with girls. In the 90s there used to be much worse “telephone” clubs but the government clamped down and legislated them out of business

      • Steve Jackman

        “In the 90s there used to be much worse “telephone” clubs.”

        You are correct and research conducted by the Japanese Association for Sex Education in 1999 found that 15.6% of high school girls had used such telephone clubs (these were used by high school girls to meet older men physically in person for enjo kosai). It is important to note that this was not that long ago.

        The only difference is that now this happens anonymously online on the internet, where this type of stuff is even easier to do, so it is probably just as or more common today. Given this, the U.N representative’s figure that 13 percent of high school girls in Japan have engaged in enjo kosai doesn’t strike me as unreasonable.

      • Steve Jackman

        Akihabara is very much representative of Tokyo and other big cities in Japan. It is not known as a red-light district, so if these things happen in the open there, they happen elsewhere in Japan also.

      • Blair

        Don’t be duped. Vice is very disingenuous in this ” report”. They went digging for dirt but couldn’t find it so they painted their story with seedy juxtaposition and filthy innuendo. They managed to find a grand total of one minor who admitted to having sex. I’m fairly certain I could come up with a greater number anywhere in the world…without much digging

      • hudsonstewart

        This is rich. You cite both Vice and Jake the Fake as definitive sources on the matter! They have the journalistic integrity of an acorn.

      • jones

        Jake Adelstein, a well known loser gaijin.His articles are not worth reading.

      • Tabula Rasa

        Regardless of the journalism, some of the viewer comments on that page were insightful and well written.

      • Steve Jackman

        I happen to think that the quality of journalism for the documentary is quite good. It’s just that mainstream media generally shy away from such controvercial topics, so Vice magazine fills that void. It’s too bad that letteradegree/Eido Inoue has always tried to discredit any media which exposes the darker aspects of Japan, as is evident here and in my past exchanges with him.

      • Blair

        Most of the comments on that page are ignorant

      • Hendrix

        ok Tony, we believe you…

      • Tabula Rasa

        Regardless of the journalism, some of the viewer comments on that page were insightful and well written.

    • Steve Jackman

      Actually, there is a valid basis for the 13 percent figure. Research conducted by the Japanese Association for Sex Education in 1999 found that 15.6% of high school girls had used telephone clubs. These were used by high school girls to meet older men physically in person for enjo kosai. This was not that long ago and I don’t think attitudes in Japan have changed so much since then.

      The only difference is that now this happens anonymously online on the internet, where this type of stuff is even easier to do, so it is probably just as or more common today. Given this, the U.N representative’s figure that 13 percent of high school girls in Japan have engaged in enjo kosai doesn’t strike me as unreasonable.

      • Blair

        Could you cite an online site where this is continuing at a greater rate as you suppose. In the 90’s bills and cards were smattered all over poles, walls and telephone booths and it was common knowledge with enjo kosai in the media daily. I’ve yet to hear of a single story of an online site nabbed for minors soliciting themselves . Perhaps Jake Adelstine can come up with one.

      • Blair

        Could you cite an online site where this is continuing at a greater rate as you suppose. In the 90’s bills and cards were smattered all over poles, walls and telephone booths and it was common knowledge with enjo kosai in the media daily. I’ve yet to hear of a single story of an online site nabbed for minors soliciting themselves . Perhaps Jake Adelstine can come up with one.

  • letteradegree

    Here’s the main dodgy source that the “U.N. expert” used:

    The 13% number comes from the blog (posing as a newspaper: “Asia Times”) post published in 2008 from an expat based in Hong Kong who claimed to interview a Japanese girl in Hong Kong and got the 13% number from the expat advertising mag The Tokyo Weekender which did an unscientific on-the-street and email survey.

    The original article that The Tokyo Weekender published is no longer available online, and the Asian sex specialty expat, “William Sparrow” (one of many pen names for NJ native SE Asia expat Frank Visakay), who was a NY chef before moving to Hong Kong, maintained a website called “Asian Sex Gazette”. Which is currently down. He wrote many books about having sex in SE Asia: RED-LIGHT NIGHTS, BANGKOK DAZE and JASMINE FEVER.

    The reason his site is down is probably because he’s dead: passed away in 2010.

  • Forest2014

    Japan complained and asked for improvements of current registrarion system of Memory of the World, and UNESCO (which also shared same view even before the recent argument) agreed and responded so to Japan.
    Japan asked for grounds and hard evidence if any for the 13% figure as it sounded rediculous and disgrace entire body of Japanese school girls and their parents . UN came back and admit “There are no such official data to back up the previous remarks, basically apologize for causing troublesomem misunderstanding”
    That ‘s all. How could you guys could be that distorted? just wasting your breath to say anything now.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      Well, just hang on a second!
      ‘sounded ridiculous and disgrace entire body of Japanese school girls and their parents’, you say now, but you weren’t saying that yesterday. Yesterday, you guys were defending statutory rape as (Japan’s unique culture that gaijin don’t understand’.

    • Frido

      An enjo kosai rate of 13% is unacceptable while 4.4% to 4.6% is completely OK. Given a commonly accepted uncertainty rate of 5% in statistics enjo kosai actually never happened – well made Japanese government!

      • Blair

        Just use your imagination and run with that

      • Hendrix

        same with Nanking, ..the nationalists say “300,000 weren’t slaughtered it was just 10,000” ..it really makes the mind boggle.

      • Blair

        Godwin’s law

  • Jud Mag

    I am going to sound as unscientific as the UN lady but let us face the fact that the 5% as “credible” number was based upon the answers provided by WILLING respondents. Most girls engaged in the trade likely did not reply. When it comes to Japan, rule of thumb dictates that the numbers are at least twice as high.

    • Jud Mag

      That said, the UN should not publish reports based on hearsay and magazine voting and the like.

  • wrle

    Right winged tools. Their pride will be the death of them.

  • 99Pcent

    How stupid can an official for the UN be? Its like, lets just borrow an number from a Chinese blogger and take it as verbatim. She should lose her position for that random comment.

  • 99Pcent

    How stupid can an official for the UN be? Its like, lets just borrow an number from a Chinese blogger and take it as verbatim. She should lose her position for that random comment.

  • Nicole

    Rationality and facts trumps all again.

  • Paul Martin

    Ahh…..the truth always hurts doesn’t it !

    • Blair

      The lies not so much

    • jones

      baka can’t see through the lies.

  • Blair

    Such unspeakable things such as discussing teeth whitening going on in a “documentary” where they hunted down filth. They came up with University girls reading futures and handing out pamphlets. They edit out Jake ” the credible” reporter’s when he answers what age these girls are

  • Blair

    Such unspeakable things such as discussing teeth whitening going on in a “documentary” where they hunted down filth. They came up with University girls reading futures and handing out pamphlets. They edit out Jake ” the credible” reporter’s when he answers what age these girls are

  • Tabula Rasa

    Instead of attacking the journalism or numbers, shouldn’t the focus be on the normalization of exploitation or the fact that it happens at all? Those two things are not in dispute. Anything else is a distraction that can be used to perpetuate the problem.

    • Blair

      What’s being perpetuated is the myth of child prostitution or at least the extent and complicit nature which it is being portrayed. This disingenuous “reporting” is not helpful. Go look at comments section of the video Mr Jackman suggested. The outcome a resounding consensus that the Japanese are depraved pedophiles. Perhaps you’re easily duped and believe such sensationalistic tripe. Well try this…Go to Akihabara and see for yourself who is doing what exactly

      • Hendrix

        Hey is that you Tony? … wheres your buddy Bush? .. you mention Akihabara, i was there and went into a book store and saw some of the sickest magazines of my life showing juniour idols in skimpy gym suits all of 12 years old, and of course who buys those magazines, foreigners? …no , Japanese men do !

      • Tabula Rasa

        Countdown to Tony missing the point and claiming he doesn’t know Bush…

      • Blair

        The brothels? According to VICE minors are lined up all along the street prostituting themselves “right across from the police station”

      • Hendrix

        You didn’t bother to read my comment properly did you?, ..i said i went into a bookshop and saw kids in magazines, i didn’t mention brothels or girls lined up in the street or reference the Vice documentary….

      • Blair

        The point of the article to which I was referring was disengenuous reporting as is also very much the case in the VICE “documentary”. Child pornography is another issue altogether. While the Japanese government has been reprehensively lax a long overdue amendment has been made making it illegal to be in possession of child pornography.

      • Blair

        The point of the article to which I was referring was disengenuous reporting as is also very much the case in the VICE “documentary”. Child pornography is another issue altogether. While the Japanese government has been reprehensively lax a long overdue amendment has been made making it illegal to be in possession of child pornography.

    • Hendrix

      in the minds of the nationalist Japanese its a case of ” you got your stats wrong so it didn’t happen ” it’s like a smoke screen that is constantly used to continue the denial.

    • Hendrix

      in the minds of the nationalist Japanese its a case of ” you got your stats wrong so it didn’t happen ” it’s like a smoke screen that is constantly used to continue the denial.

    • jones

      spreding the lies is not journalism.

    • jones

      spreding the lies is not journalism.

  • Fnights

    As expected from the UN, another sourceless and inaccurate report of UN, created just to blame others, invent data, spread unjustified lies in the intent to create problems that aren’t problems at all.

    This UN woman is just an idiot that invent numbers used to denigrate Japan and exagerate the issue because they want censorship and control over japanese sub-culture. They
    don’t like the freedom that Japan has.

    Regarding enjou kusai, it exist but is mainly accompany lone people for money, nothing wrong with this, and what these people do and agree to do after this is their damn business.
    Japan is one of the safest country in the world. I don’t care what people claim with fantasy data, i trevaled myself in Japan many times and streets and prefectures were all 99% clean and safe places where even children walk alone from home to school.
    These claims are just ridiculous like ridiculous is UN. Shame on the UN that use our money for this useless crap.
    I’m with the Japanese government in this case even if i hate them because they are too much spineless and permissive accepting too much crap from foreigner countries and censor their own media to please these idiots even if there are not issues at all.

    Also hope Japan reject the TPP, will only damaging them, Us capitalistic and lobbistic system is cruel and evil.

  • jones

    The U.N. is a worthless piece of s**t.

  • R0ninX3ph

    Thanks for actually reading and comprehending my post. I never claimed it doesn’t happen, I never claimed it isn’t a problem.

    I am claiming the Vice “documentary” is badly made. That is all. If you don’t like someone being critical of how a piece of media is produced, well go for it, but I never once claimed that the JK business isn’t real, just that bad subtitles designed to lure foreigners outside of Japan into a tizzy for page views, is terrible “reporting”.