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The former owner of an Osaka nightclub charged under Japan’s controversial “no dancing” law has been cleared of wrongdoing after a High Court upheld his acquittal last year.

Masatoshi Kanemitsu was arrested in April 2012 under fueihō, a so-called anti-dancing law which originated in 1948 and places strict regulations on public dancing after midnight at certain venues.

Authorities alleged he was running his club, Noon, without the permission of the Osaka Prefectural Public Safety Commission.

However, on Wednesday High Court of Osaka chief judge Masaaki Yoneyama ruled that there is no definite link between nightclubs and “pleasure seeking” in the present day.

He found Kanemitsu, 52, had not broken the fueihō law and upheld a decision by the Osaka District Court in May last year that found him not guilty.

The prosecution appealed against the decision to the High Court last May.

Last year, the Cabinet moved to reform the anti-dancing regulations, but it was abandoned after the dissolution of the House of Representatives.

Nightclub owners, particularly in the Kansai region, had reported an increased number of police raids that led to a grass-roots movement spearheaded by the Let’s Dance organization to change parts of the law.

The National Police Agency is scheduled to submit a reform proposal on the fueihō law to the ordinary Diet session on Jan. 26.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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