Nightclubs should be allowed to operate past midnight so long as they follow the lighting standard set by authorities, according to a report Wednesday by a National Police Agency panel of experts.
Calls have been growing to revise the adult entertainment business law to allow nightclubs to stay open later. The law was drafted to control venues considered to have the potential to corrupt young people and house prostitution.
Nightclubs, dance halls and dance schools say the law shouldn’t apply to them because their activities don’t fall within the scope of adult entertainment.
Based on the report, which includes recommendations, nightclubs should be allowed to operate past midnight if their interior lighting is adjusted to more than 10 lux, the same level of brightness as in a movie theater during intermission.
Musicians and other critics have said that categorizing nightclubs in the same league as pachinko parlors and sex parlors, which are subject to the law, is outdated.
The NPA will use the report as a reference material when seeking revisions of the law. The agency will submit a draft bill to lawmakers this autumn fall.
Under the panel’s proposals, nightclubs with lights of more than 10 lux and which close at midnight would be classified as eating and drinking establishments and not subject to public safety commission approval.
However, approval would be needed if club want to operate all night.
Nightclubs with lighting of less than 10 lux would still be subject to regulations. Many clubs currently keep their lighting below 5 lux.
The panel acknowledged the importance of dance from a cultural and economic viewpoint, and called for re-examining measures that regulates businesses only because they allow dancing by customers.
The panel also recommended in its report that operating hours can differ depending on location, under prefectural ordinances.