• Kyodo News


The National Police Agency plans to regulate “dating-service” cafes to prevent child prostitution.

An expert panel will begin work next week on how best to revise ordinances on such cafes under the entertainment and amusement trade control law, the NPA said Thursday.

The revisions would ban people under 18 from entering dating-service cafes and similar entertainment venues.

Such cafes would also be prohibited from operating near schools. Violations would be subject to penalties.

The NPA said the panel plans to outline measures for the regulation in early May.

At dating-service cafes, men choose women from among the female clientele and try to secure dates with them. Female customers are admitted free of charge to draw them in and thus expose them to the risk of becoming crime victims.

At one such establishment near JR Yokohama Station, for example, the male customers look at the females on the club floor through a one-way mirror.

If a male customer finds a female customer he would like to date, he can chat with her in a booth earmarked for such conversation for 10 minutes, paying ¥1,000. If she agrees to a date outside the cafe, the man pays her “transportation expenses.”

The man also pays the cafe an admission fee and other charges.

Asked why she visited the cafe, a high school girl who claims she is 18 said, “(Because) I can get money and have drinks for free.”

She said she sometimes earns tens of thousands of yen a day, adding some underage girls lie about their age to get into the cafe, which claims it will not register girls under 18.

The proposed regulation is in response to a rapid increase in child-prostitution cases at such places.

Police handled 59 cases of child pornography, prostitution and other sexual misconduct involving dating cafes in the two years through December.

The local governments in Osaka, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Kyoto prefectures have revised their ordinances to ban people under 18 from entering the cafes. As of the end of last year, 88 such cafes were operating in 15 prefectures.

The NPA expects the number of dating cafes to grow throughout Japan.

The expert panel will also consider imposing tougher conditions on love hotels. This is in response to criticism that some are operating under the guise of business hotels to dodge regulations on location.

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