TOKYO (TR) – Kanagawa and Kyoto prefectural police last Wednesday arrested five employees affiliated with a restaurant chain that features female staff members in revealing clothing. Nikkan Gendai (June 15) sees the bust as another example of the demise of another popular form of salaryman entertainment.
Tsuyoshi Tsuchi, 43, a representative director at Momojiro Group, and three others were taken into custody by Kanagawa prefectural police for violating the Labor Standards Act regarding harmful employment at the Yokohama branch of the company’s Sexy Izakaya Fujikochan chain. At the time of the raid, four underage girls were clad only in underwear or a bikini.
“Of the 16 girls on staff at the time, nine were under the age of 18,” says a local newspaper reporter. “With wages between 1,100 and 1,300 yen an hour, most of these girls work after finishing middle or high school.”
Attired in bikinis that expose their midriffs, the girls perform dance routines to AKB48 tunes and shake their hips as they take food orders.
“The girls will engage in simple chat with the customers,” the reporter adds. “When compared to a hostess club, this sort of thing is very cheap. So a lot of salarymen are regulars.”
In Kyoto, Tomoharu Takagi, 37, the manager of the chain’s Kiyamachi-dori Chuo outlet, was arrested on the same day for employing a 16-year-old, second-year high-school girl. She was attired in a bikini at the time.
In the industry, such an establishment is referred to as a “girl’s izakaya.” The concept is similar to the “girl’s bar,” which aims to replicate a hostess club experience while presenting itself as a typical drinking establishment to evade strict regulations under the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.
In April, a similar establishment in Yokohama was busted for the unlawful employment of minors in violation of the the Labor Standards Act and violating the adult-entertainment law.
Nikkan Gendai believes that the arrests are not coincidental.
“After these girls get off work, they’ll attract stalkers,” says lawyer Toshi Okabayashi, who specializes in crime-related matters. “Since this type of employment could also develop into a hotbed for prostitution, the police cannot overlook these places.”
The lawyer adds that these recent arrests are intended to set an example.
“They want to put the brakes on the escalating war to employ middle- and high-school girls,” Okabayashi says. “Currently, undercover investigations are ongoing.”