The Cabinet endorsed a bill Wednesday to revise a law regulating adult entertainment in a bid to crack down on telephone dating services that facilitate sex with minors and child prostitution, government officials said.
The government plans to submit the amendments to the Diet, hoping for passage before the end of the ongoing 150-day parliamentary session on June 29, they said.
It envisions revising the Law Regulating Businesses Affecting Public Morals to tighten regulations on such clubs, which often offer services through nonstore operations. The revision will require business operators to confirm that users are aged 18 or above, the officials said.
Telephone dating clubs are currently regulated under ordinances set by prefectures.
Users of such services who are under 18 can easily find a sexual partner because the club operators usually connect callers without verifying their age, they said.
The operators of these clubs also have no way of controlling any payments made for sex among their users.
Women are able to call male users toll-free and it is impossible to identify them, but men are obliged to pay for the calls by credit card or prepaid card and thus can be identified by the operators. The toll-free numbers are often written on packets of tissues distributed by the business operators on streets.
The bill defines telephone dating clubs as operations that provide members of the opposite sex opportunities to talk on the phone. They must clarify to customers that they are part of the sexual entertainment business.
It also includes provisions requiring Internet service providers to make efforts to prevent distribution of child pornography, a growing international concern.
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