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Presence of Toranomon Hills may threaten Shimbashi’s sex trade prior to Olympics

A fuzoku establishment in Shimbashi
A fuzoku establishment in Shimbashi
June 11 marked the opening of the ritzy 52-story Toranomon Hills complex, the latest mixed-use commercial development in the center of Tokyo.

Reaching 247 meters in height, the complex, built by Mori Building, includes Tokyo’s second-tallest building. Crucially to the readership of Nikkan Gendai, however, is that a new street completed in March joins the development to the Shimbashi business district in Minato Ward.

The passageway, dubbed “MacArthur Road,” will eventually connect the development to many of the facilities scheduled to be used in the Olympics Games in 2020. The evening tabloid in its June 16 issue wonders whether the recent gentrification of the area will lead to a clean-up of Shimbashi’s sex businesses prior to the Games.

“For the Olympics, that road is going to be Japan’s version of the Champs-Élysées,” says an employee at a Shimbashi sex business.

The contention is that the area’s numerous massage parlors and assorted fuzoku establishments will not mix well with upscale shops, residences, eateries and hotel rooms going for as much as one million yen per night, as is the case at the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, whose 164 boutique-styled rooms are located at the top of the complex.

There is speculation that a similar clean-up will take place as has been rumored in the Kabukicho red-light district, Akihabara shopping district and the Yoshiwara erotic bathhouse quarter.

“Whispers are circulating among those in the trade in Shimbashi that they will get struck down just like Kabukicho,” says the aforementioned employee. (A.T.)

Source: “Joka sakusen mo? Toranomon Hiruzu kaigyo de shinpai na Shimbashi kanrakugai no suitai,” Nikkan Gendai (June 16)