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Tokyo police patrol red-light districts in prep for Olympics

Tokyo police and government officials
Tokyo police and government officials initiated a patrol through the Kabukicho red-light district on Wednesday to raise awareness about harmful street touts (NHK)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday initiated a patrol through red-light districts in the capital as a part of preparations for the Olympic Games in three years, reports TBS News (July 27).

At around 5:00 p.m., about 150 police officers, government officials and merchants paraded past restaurants and bars in the Kabukicho district, located in Shinjuku Ward, to raise awareness about troublesome street touts, who often aggressively lure pedestrians into disreputable establishments.

Similar patrols were carried out in the Yushima area of Bunkyo Ward and other districts in the capital.

More than 50 complaints about street touts in the Yushima area have been lodged with police over the past year. Legislation enacted this month prohibits street touting. Yushima is the 15th district in the capital to have such a restriction in place.

“Drink spiking”

Over the past few years, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has repeatedly issued warnings about “drink-spiking” incidents in a number of entertainment areas in the metropolis, including Kabukicho. Such incidents often result in the victim being robbed. In such cases, the victim is lured into an establishment by a street tout prior to being drugged.

About 200,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit the capital for the Olympic Games in 2020. “I want to increase enforcement in targeting safety such that tourists coming to Tokyo are left with pleasant memories,” said Kazuki Nagaoka, the director of the community safety division of the Tokyo police.