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For cut-rate sex in Tokyo, you get what you pay for

Shukan Bunshun Feb. 5
Shukan Bunshun Feb. 5

When it comes to deflation in Japan, possibly the most inexplicable indicator is the price for prostitution — as in, how low can you go?

But, according to Shukan Bunshun (Feb. 5), the recent bust of a budget “delivery health” health chain that is alleged to have dispatched female employees to love hotels and rental rooms to engage in full sex (honban) was due to a fall in something else entirely: business morals.

On January 17 and 18, Tokyo Metropolitan Police took Koji Yoshida, 61, the president of chain Sankyu Group, and 20 others into custody for violating the Anti-Prostitution Law at six locations in Tokyo.

The 65 outlets within the group specialize in low fees, and, with an annual turnover averages 400 million yen per year, it is a successful business model.

“They undercut the competition, which charges around 10,000 yen for the first hour, with a starting price of 3,900 yen for 30 minutes,” says a reporter covering the police beat.

The typical delivery health outlet provides erotic services as dispensed by the mouth and hand of a masseuse — meaning one step short of honban.

“But the Sankyu group was discovered to have been allowing prostitution,” continues the writer.

Considering rumors had previously abounded about the practice, this was not the main issue in the eyes of the police. Rather, the bust was an outcome of the group’s pursuit of rapid expansion.

An industry insider tells Shukan Bunshun that an initial outlay of 3,900 yen means roughly 1,900 yen will go to the masseuse, which is hardly a reasonable wage.

“So instead of providing full sex, the girl would often coax the customer into the (more expensive) one-hour plan,” says the insider. “This raised the average per-customer take, which allowed the group to recruit a lot female employees during a struggling economy.”

It was here, however, that the Sankyu Group overstepped its bounds, an investigator tells the magazine.

A branch of the Sankyu Group in Uguisudani, Tokyo
A branch of the Sankyu Group in Uguisudani, Tokyo recruits female employees via Line

“Complaints came in from customers who said that the dispatched girls did not match the photos on the Web site,” says the investigator. “With low pricing, customers will expect a proportionate level of service. But in these cases it was not even close.”

The investigator says that 90 percent of the girls who apply for employment at Sankyu Group outlets are accepted. “On Internet bulletin boards, there have been a lot of angry users,” says the source.

Perhaps ironically, outlets in the Sankyu Group had received a stamp of approval from a certification association for businesses in the fuzoku industry that was formed last year to combat such injustices.

“It was Yoshida who founded the association,” says the investigator, referring to the Sankyu Group president now in custody.

Shukan Bunshun notes that Yoshida and 17 other suspects have denied the charges against them. (K.N.)

Source: “Zenkoku tenkai no gekiyasu deriheru ga tekihatsu tansho wa ‘shashin to chigau’ no kyaku no koe” Shukan Bunshun (Feb. 5, page 49)