National / Crime & Legal

Operator of Tokyo 'JK' teen dating service arrested

Kyodo

A man has been arrested for hiring a female high school student for a Tokyo dating service after she allegedly ended up having paid sex with a 45-year-old customer, police said Monday.

The arrest was the first of its kind in Japan under a new Tokyo ordinance that took force in July outlawing the employment of girls under 18 for “JK” services. JK stands for joshi kōsei (female high school students).

Yutaka Tanaka, 27, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of hiring the 17-year-old without confirming she was of legal age.

Tanaka allegedly made her available to “go for a walk” with the customer.

“It is true that I have been sending girls to take walks (with men),” he reportedly told the police.

The girl eventually engaged in sexual activities with the customer for ¥30,000 at a hotel in the Ikebukuro area, the police said.

The police define JK businesses as those that clearly indicate customers are served by girls, or in which girls in school uniforms or gym clothes offer services.

Tanaka has been running a JK business named Ikebukuro in Walk since July, generating sales of around ¥5 million, according to investigators. They said he has 56 female employees of which at least five, including high school students, are under 18.

A 60-minute date costs a customer ¥7,000, which Tanaka pockets, the police alleged. They said he only pays the girls, who often dress as schoolgirls, if they agree to perform extra services that include activities of a sexual nature.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly ordinance, passed in July, prohibits girls under 18 from working for dating services that offer to pair men with teenage girls. It is the first ordinance in Japan specifically targeting such operations.

JK business operators are now obliged to file their business registration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Public Safety Commission and provide a list of employees so their ages can be verified. The ordinance empowers police officers to conduct on-site inspections of such businesses.

As of June, 114 such businesses were identified across the country, according to the first such survey by the National Police Agency released last month. Many of these offer sexual services and are considered providers of prostitution services.