The Osaka District Court recently acquitted a nightclub operator of the charge of debasing sexual morals by allowing patrons in his club to dance. Perhaps only in the strictest countries in the world could such a charge actually be taken to court, but Japan is still saddled with out-of-date regulations on morality. Unfortunately the statute does little other than prohibit young people from having a good time.

The ruling found the club owner, Masatoshi Kanemitsu, not guilty, noting that his customers were neither engaging in indecent behavior nor threatening standards of sexual morality. Yet, the court also found current regulations "necessary and rational" and worth considering in the public interest.

It is hard to see why decent, moral behavior that causes no harm should be regulated. The freedom to engage in such behavior is one of the essential marks of a free and open society. The possibility of a review of the Law Concerning Business Affecting Public Morals is now greater than ever. Lawyers who helped defend the club owner said they would — justifiably — ask for a revision of the law.