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Japan’s hookers anxious as My Number looms

Ore no Tabi September
Ore no Tabi September

The implementation of the My Number personal identification system has raised a number of concerns regarding privacy.

Starting this month, the government began issuing a 12-digit number to all residents that will allow for government offices to more easily monitor activities, including the receiving of salaries. The result, reports Tokyo Sports (Oct. 3), could be that a large number of prostitutes will resign due to fears that their occupation will be revealed.

“I do hear voices of concern among the girls,” Akira Ikoma, editor of a guide to the men’s entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), tells the newspaper. “It is indeed a job that you want to do discretely.”

The My Number system will make incomes transparent and allow for easier monitoring of government schemes, including the national pension system and health insurance. The project will go into effect in January.

The manager of an adult-entertainment (or fuzoku) shop believes that My Number could reduce the number of applications he receives. “It will be hard to collect fuzoku-jo,” he says, using the word for lady of the evening.

Office ladies and housewives working part-time as prostitutes are now on edge, according to the paper. “There are many girls who end up working in the fuzoku trade because they don’t earn enough via their primary jobs,” says Ikoma. For full-time workers, My Number is not a big issue because they have to work in the sex trade to have cash.”

Japan’s adult-entertainment industry is known for its ability to use creative means to survive difficulties. In the past, ‘alibi-ya‘ companies have assisted sex workers by providing an alternate identity to mainly hide knowledge of their employment from their families. Women are also provided with spurious tax payment certificates and other documentation needed to lease apartments or secure loans.

“The industry will likely come up with another counter-measure to deal with (My Number),” says Ikoma. “Some shops will even advertise that they have a plan in place to ensure that girls will not be exposed. The fuzoku industry will figure out a way.”

The editor thinks that women will eventually return to the trade due to the easy money.

“Once you get a taste of a life of luxury, it is tough to go back to (a moderate existence on) a single source of income,” Ikoma says. “While there may be an initial decline in girls, it will only be temporary.” (A.T.)

Source: “Mainanbaa donyu de ‘fuzoku-jo ga gekigen suru’ kono uwasa wa hontoka?” Tokyo Sports (Oct. 3)