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Regarding the April 3 story “Concern as Japan’s sex workers excluded from freelancer virus payouts,” as a former self-employed Ginza nightclub hostess, I am incensed by the blatant occupation-based discrimination by the Japanese government. In my five years of experience, all nightclubs I knew had legal permits to operate, abided by laws restricting opening hours and paid their taxes. As hostesses we all endured the painful process of annual tax returns as any self-employed worker should. The fact that numerous Diet members were themselves patrons of our establishments and services should speak for itself — we are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

However the government insists that hostesses are "not worthy" of public funds as they have ties to crime syndicates. This is simply an outdated, false assumption, proven by my personal experience and by the fact that laws concerning involvement with crime syndicates have become extremely strict in recent years. Applying this assumption to all hostesses and sex workers is a violation of equal rights by the Japanese government which results in economic damage for mothers who work hard as any others would to provide for their children.

Simone Aoki
Minato Ward, Tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.