• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:27am
NewsAsia
JAPAN

In new tack, Japanese police target teens selling sex, not their customers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 11:47pm

Police in Japan have adopted a new tactic in the apparently unending struggle against the under-age sex industry, introducing sting operations against minors offering sexual services.

According to the National Police Agency, officers are now patrolling online chat rooms, matchmaking sites and smartphone applications. Officers strike up a conversation and arrange a meeting. Once they have met and the transaction is confirmed, the undercover officer reveals his true identity.

In the first six months of this year, officers using these tactics took into custody 220 girls under the age of 18.

Instead of arresting first-time offenders, however, the police are providing "cyber correctional guidance", which warns them of the crimes they are committing and the potential dangers.

After a dose of moral re-education, the girls are then taken home and their parents informed that they have been cautioned for sex-related crimes.

The NPA instructed forces around the country to introduce cyber correctional guidance in October last year.

The phenomenon of enjo kosai - which literally means compensated dating but is a euphemism for everything from a customer paying to hold hands with a young girl to full sex - first emerged in Japan in the 1990s.

Concerned at the number of men eager to pay for the company of a teenage girl, as well as the appetite of minors for brand-name goods and accessories and, consequently, the funds to buy them, Japanese authorities passed strict new laws.

The Act on Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and for Protecting Children was enacted in May 1999 and updated five years later.

In June, police in Osaka arrested the operator of a prostitution business that employed 17 teenage girls, nine of whom were aged 16 or younger, who used matchmaking sites to solicit customers, the Nikkan Gendai newspaper said.

The youngest girl taken into custody was aged 14 and provided sexual services to around 300 men between September of last year and February. Of the 9 million yen (HK$672,000) she earned, the girl kept 7.2 million yen to spend on eating with her friends and shopping.

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This article is now closed to comments

ianson
If it weren't for using underage girls, the Osaka prostitution business should be soundly applauded for its benevolent remuneration policy: only took 20 per cent off the top! That's on a par with legitimate employment agencies and less than most service provider businesses add on top of the wages and salaries they pay their employees. Amazing. There's certainly no financial exploitation going on there.
tsthk
It's not nice to judge or stereotype 'anyone'....
johnfra
"Once they have met and the transaction is confirmed, the undercover officer reveals his true identity."
The Japanese Police are certainly acting correctly here, morally and legally, and physically. Compare that to the Hong Kong Police, who after pretending to be a customer on the search for sex, proceed to "complete" the act in the guise of collecting evidence and retrieving the money, if already paid to the sex worker. Yet no one, their superiors, the Courts etc., seem to sanction them. Dirty scoundrels.
The one point that seems harsh here, bringing the young girls home and telling their parents about what they did. Perhaps they may consider that for the 1st time "offender", a police warning and guidance would be sufficient. The repeat "offenders" can perhaps be helped by calling the assistance of their parents.
As for your previous contributor, why used such filthy language.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
Japanese females have this weird thing where they eternally stay as children, act, dress and have childish interests till the age of around 35-40 where they suddenly turn into a soulless matronly homemaker without an ounce of humor or facial expression.
mercedes2233
Aren't men who use the services of underage girls also committing an offense?
crash.froelich
The commonly recognized English term among the girls is "subsi-date," which has been in use for years.
zhelu1985@live.com
Well... considering the fact that most Japanese women have almost zero marketable skills either as an adult and even less as a teenager, I think this line of work is quite natural. No need to apply Western ideas regarding "age of consent" here. It's just natural supply and demand.

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