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Crackdown on prostitution continues as Akita soapland bathhouses busted

Nozomi of Alegria
Nozomi of Alegria

AKITA (TR) – Akita Prefectural Police are continuing to target soapland bathhouses over alleged prostitution as a part of a nationwide crackdown, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 24).

Officers arrested Norio Ishikawa, the 42-year-old manager of Versailles, located in the Omachi area of Akita City, for allegedly contracting a woman to engage in prostitution in September of last year.

Under the Anti-Prostitution Law, businesses are only permitted to offer sex acts the exclude intercourse.

Last month, police cited soapland Alegria, also located in Omachi, with the same charges. As a part of the investigation, Akita police have applied fresh charges to Shuji Mitsuzuka, a company president, for allegedly receiving 9.3 million yen in rent payments from the bathhouse over a 14-month period beginning in December of 2014 while knowing about the illegal nature of the business.

The arrests coincide with the bust earlier this month of service SSC, a Tokyo-based operation that supplies women to the fuzoku industry, or commercial sex trade. Police have arrested six members of the service for allegedly supplying women to the bathhouses while knowing that prostitution was the intended purpose. Included among the suspects is representative director Sho Suenaga, 31, who was arrested this week, according to Nippon News Network (Feb. 24).

Over a two-year period, SSC has staffed 105 parlors in 16 administrative districts of Japan with approximately 600 women. Since 2014, the group has collected 700 million yen in revenue.

Police have also cited soapland bathhouses in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture and Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture for violations of the Anti-Prostitution Law as a part of the crackdown.