The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has begun to crackdown on JK (joshi kosei) rifure services, which employ high school age girls for their businesses, after the labor ministry declared that the practice “constitutes a harmful business, as it aims to offer its clients sexual consolation and entertainment.” However, a lot of the companies have also now turned to the “storeless” business model which might make it a little difficult to track them down.
The National Police Agency had a hard time putting a stop to JK rifure businesses as their count increased to 80 last year. They do not fall under the Adult Entertainment Businesses Law because they claim that their service only includes lying down beside clients or giving them massages. So the MPD then turned to the Labor Standards Law to see if they could use that to label the practice as a harmful business, which would forbid them to employ workers under 18 years old. When they received a positive answer from the Central Labor Standards Inspection Office of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, they raided at least 17 shops in Shinjiku, Ikebukuro and Akihabara last January for violations. Just last April, they also changed the way they handle cases involving the teenagers, to make them take responsibility if they weren’t forced into employment, treating them as correctional guidance cases rather than juvenile protection cases.
But now, observers say the businesses have become more “tricky” by operating without a storefront. The girls go around the city handing out fliers and soliciting for paid “dates”. One of the girls who does this is a 17 year old who goes on 3-4 dates per night and splits her earnings with the company she works for. She still gets around 100,000 yen (approx. 1,013 dollars) per month and claims that her “dates” just take her to video arcades or go shopping. And if they solicit her for sex, she says she just runs away.
Hiroshi Kainuma, a researcher at Fukushima University whose expertise is on youth culture, said that while it seems like a lucrative job for these girls, eventually they will find it difficult to get away from the situation and will feel trapped into that life. “It’s a problem that should be addressed by society as a whole,” Kainuma said. Mieko Miyata, director of the Japan Research Institute of Safer Child Education, also adds that schoolgirls should be informed about the possible sexual offenses they will fall victim to if they get involved in work like that.
[ via Asia One ]
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