Japan porn company busted for forcing women to perform as actresses

An AV talent agency allegedly dispatched women to production companies knowing that they were reluctant to take part

AV agency Marks Japan recruits women via its web site
AV agency Marks Japan recruits women via its web site

TOKYO (TR) – Police raided major adult video (AV) talent agency Marks Japan and arrested three individuals, including its president, over allegations it forced women to appear in productions against their will.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Marks Japan’s former president Norihide Murayama, the company’s current president and another individual on suspicion of violating the Worker Dispatch Law for forcibly dispatching a woman to appear in an AV production, the Sankei Shimbun reports (June 11).

Police raided the offices of Marks Japan (located in Shibuya Ward), affiliated firm Five Promotion (also Shibuya Ward) and production companies CA (Minato Ward) and Pierrot (Nerima Ward).

In September 2013, the suspects allegedly sent a woman registered with Marks Japan to an AV maker for work that included lewd acts. Numerous women have also come forward with similar statements.

AV makers reportedly filmed the women knowing they were reluctant to take part.

“I’ll tell your parents”

A source said the case was reported to police by a woman who signed with Marks Japan as a gravure model in 2009.

The victim was forcefully escorted to an AV studio where she was told she would be performing in an adult production.

A police source said, “When we carried out the raids, the people involved didn’t seem to get why they were under investigation.”

The case is unusual because a criminal investigation has been opened by using the Worker Dispatch Law to deem the acts in adult videos a “harmful business on public morality.”

Norihide Murayama
Norihide Murayama

She refused, but was forced to continue appearing in AV production for years because Marks Japan made threats like “pay the contract violation fees” and “I’ll tell your parents.”

The actual shooting of the sexual acts could be violations of other laws and regulations. An industry source said major AV makers in Japan have been focusing on extreme content, spurred by trends among overseas video sites.

Police are investigating under the assumption that illegal shooting has become the norm in the AV industry.

“Human rights violations”

AV performers are increasingly facing exploitative contracts and being hired under false pretenses.

Marks Japan roped in models and AV actresses by making claims about trustworthiness, such as: “You can trust us because of the fact that we have the most models in the industry” and “If there’s something you don’t want to do, we’ll discuss that with you and proceed only if we both reach an understanding.”

Support group People Against Pornography and Sexual Violence (PAPS), which provides assistance to victims in the AV industry, told the Sankei of a sharp spike in consultations since 2014 with women who first sign up as TV personalities but are then forced into AV work.

There have also been cases of woman facing significant financial penalties for refusing to appear in AV productions.

“Some of these cases can’t be helped but be seen as human rights violations,” an industry source said.

Marks Japan solicits women to appear in AV films via its web site
Marks Japan solicits women to appear in AV films via its web site

A report by non-government organization Human Rights Now in March pointed out that workers are protected from harmful work by a provision in the Employment Security Act. But AV makers work around such labor laws by offering women contracts that delegate management to them, as opposed to standard labor contracts.

Even under these work-around contracts, an industry source said there is “no need to appear in AV productions against your will.” Under the Civil Code, these contracts are invalidated when they contradict public order and morals.

“Exploited”

There have been cases of women winning lawsuits in court.

Last year, an AV maker sought some 24 million yen in damages from a woman over her refusal to appear in adult productions, but the Tokyo District Court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the woman had no responsibility to pay back lost production costs.

“The production firm exploited a massive contract violation penalty to force her to appear against her will,” presiding judge Katsuya Hara said.

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