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Japan’s ‘deai-kei’ dating sites making a killing

Deai-kei matchmaking sites make a killing

Last Tuesday, the National Tax Agency announced a nationwide crackdown on a group of companies that operate dating sites for concealing income of more than one billion yen.

According to Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 22), the bust is just the tip of the iceberg as the dating industry emerges as a source of easy money.

In this latest case, the agency made inquiries with the approximately 140 companies operating deai-kei (“encounter”) matchmaking sites in multiple cities, including the Tokyo metropolitan area, Nagoya and Hiroshima. Of those companies, 40 were found to have not reported 1.1 billion yen over a six-year period ending in 2012.

A similar bust unfolded in April of last year, when the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau accused Yuji Higuchi, the president of an advertising firm based in Shibuya Ward, of concealing 300 million yen in the operation of multiple matchmaking sites over a three-year period ending in 2011.

According to Nikkan Gendai, the National Tax Agency registered 129 incidents of wrongdoing for the 2012 fiscal year, with 10 cases being related to the dating industry, an increase of four over 2011. “This is the first time that infractions by dating companies exceeded those of construction firms,” says an informed source at the agency.

In spite of this, shrewd strategies keep the good times rolling.

For the group of companies busted the week, the president, a 65-year-old who operates a paint materials company located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, ran the operation with his son. “In every region where they set up shop, they’d make easy money,” says the same source. “Then, after a year, they’d shut down the company to avoid paying taxes.”

The source says that the company employed a total of approximately 100 males, working part-time, to impersonate women on the dating sites and attract paying customers: “Through this, they averaged three billion yen in sales a year.”

Fuzoku writer Yukio Murakami wonders if a steady deterioration in the prospects for small and medium enterprises has forced an increasing amount to move into the deai-kei industry.

The tax agency source warns Nikkan Gendai’s readership to be on guard for sakura profiles, meaning those that are impersonations.

“The strategies are becoming more clever,” says the source. “If rumors start about a certain site being overrun with sakura their business is doomed.”

To ensure that does not happen operators may team up with a third party, possibly a “delivery health” sex shop. A call-girl with free time will rendezvous with a site’s customer for a quick chat over coffee — just enough to ensure that a physical person is actually available through the service.

“The site will then be known on the Internet for being legitimate,” says the tax insider. “With that, it will make a mint off the rush of new customers.”

Source: “Shottoku kakushi 11okuen ‘deai-kei saito’ ha imada boromoke,” Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 22)