“Prices in the fuzoku industry are going down,” says Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men’s entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), in speaking of the commercial sex trade.
“At present, early birds at soaplands (erotic bathhouses) in Yoshiwara can gain entry for as little as 7,000 yen,” he says, referring to one of Tokyo’s largest pleasure quarters, located in Taito Ward.
While Abe is expected to set a two-percent inflation target with the Bank of Japan, the fuzoku industry will not turn its pricing around quickly, continues Ikoma: “A 5,000-yen soapland may emerge in the Yoshiwara district this year.”
Much of the problem dates back to last year. “Many women in need of cash became employed in the fuzoku industry,” says the editor. “So the number of gals on the rolls at soaplands shot up. With escort services factored into the mix, it was no wonder that we experienced downward pressure on prices.”
Punters are pleased. “Formerly, deri heru (out-call sex) services, with fees starting as low as 3,900 yen, or cheap hand-job joints emphasized attractive bang-for-your-buck pricing over quality,” maintains Ikoma. “However, now these clubs can offer have high-end ladies. Nowadays, you can see a line forming prior to the opening of such establishments.”
How are things shaping up for the 2013?
“Clubs offering no-charge services may surface,” says Ikoma. “Until now, free items were limited to sex toys or having the girls wear costumes, but this may shift to various benefits, such as ‘buy three entries get one free’ plans.”
It is a way to give back to regular customers without thinking about the bottom line. “But this will further lower prices, which will surely hurt the industry,” Ikoma maintains. “But this negative spiral should halt at some point.”
One positive impact of Abenomics may be via major public works projects planned for regional areas. Local construction companies should prosper, and that might be a boon for the sex trade. “As a result, escort services in suburban regions could do quite well,” says Ikoma.
And Spa! suspects many young girls from the countryside coming to work in Tokyo will make a u-turn back to their hometowns. (K.N.)
Source: “Abe seiken moto demo defure wa kasoku. 5000en no soopu ga tan jo!?” Spa! (Jan. 15, page 29)
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