Calls to restrict ‘companionship’ businesses exploiting high school girls

May 25, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)

Businesses that provide male customers with varying types of companionship with high school girls dressed in their uniforms should be barred from employing anyone under 18, a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) expert committee recommended in a May 25 report.

The MPD will now consider concrete measures to regulate the hiring practices of these establishments, referred to colloquially as “JK businesses” from the initials for “joshi kosei,” Japanese for high school girl.

In JK businesses, high school girls provide men with so-called “refreshment” services, which take various forms including massages and sleeping side-by-side in the same bed. Other businesses offer private strolls with the girls. As of at the end of January this year, there were 174 confirmed JK businesses in Tokyo alone.

On the surface, the businesses do not provide any illegal services. However, sexual assaults on the girls have been reported, and the MPD has been considering countermeasures.

In addition to recommending banning JK businesses from hiring anyone under 18, the expert committee report calls for requiring the businesses entering the industry to register with the Tokyo Metropolitan Safety Commission, making it easier to track their activities. The report states that the safety commission should be empowered to issue business suspension orders, and also calls on punishments to be set for violators.

The committee furthermore recommended advising high school girls on the harmful and dangerous nature of JK businesses, stating, “Both legal restrictions and measures to address the social environment of our youth are needed.”

From 2012 to the end of 2015, the MPD uncovered 31 businesses involving 54 people suspected of violating the Labor Standards Act, the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses, and the Child Welfare Act for allegedly forcing high school girls to provide sexual services.

In related news, an MPD survey found that over 20 percent of Tokyo junior high and high school students say a person would “have no choice” but to consider working for a JK business if they were having money trouble.

The survey was carried out by a think tank on behalf of the MPD in March this year, and received 515 responses.

Some 63 percent of respondents, or 324 students, knew that JK businesses existed. Of those, 49 said they knew someone who works for one. Regarding working for a JK business, 118 students — 23 percent of respondents — said, “There would be no choice in case of financial trouble.”

However, 306 students, or 59 percent of the respondents, stated, “It’s an unacceptable job when considering one’s present and future.”


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