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Crackdown on ‘walking dates’ not slowing Akihabara’s maid cafes

Friday Apr. 25
Friday Apr. 25
On the first Sunday in April, Friday (Apr. 25) hit the streets of the vibrant Akihabara shopping district.

Amongst the bustle comes a voice, “Are you interested in a maid cafe?”

As a steady rain falls, a number of girls are lined along a narrow street up holding placards with the names of various cafes. When a girl senses that a male passerby does not seek coffee or tea, she furtively flips her sign over to reveal the name of a different establishment and whispers, “A private stroll is possible.”

The reason for the secrecy is a change in the law. Starting on April 1, businesses throughout Chiyoda Ward have been prohibited from promoting the service known as “joshi kosei osanpo,” or a walking date with a high school girl.

The Akihabara area is the most recent district where law enforcement is attempting to thwart child prostitution, but, as the magazine finds out, activity remains brisk.

“For now, why don’t we go to the shop,” a girl says to Friday’s reporter. “For 40 minutes of conversation, it’s only 1,000 yen plus one drink. An all-you-can-drink option is available for 2,100 yen. You can decide if you want to go for a walk after that.”

During the jaunt, the customer can then negotiate terms for enjo kosai — meaning compensated dating, which is a euphemism for a trip to love hotel.

Last October, officers arrested a male resident of Saitama Prefecture on obscenity charges for paying 18,000 yen for the undergarments of the third-year high-school student during an osanpo excursion in Akihabara.

Since December of last year, officers have taken more than a dozen girls into protective custody in the vicinity of JR Akihabara Station.

The Friday reporter decides to take the girl, who is 16 years old, up on her offer. Inside the cafe, the one large room is packed, and he sees a number of girls, all of whom appear to be under the age of 18, serving male customers.

The atmosphere is that of a hostess club, with each girl attending to an individual customer and serving alcohol, which the reporter notes makes the business hardly legal from the outset.

His escort has pale skin and semi-long black hair. She tells her parents that she has taken up part-time work in Akihabara. “But they don’t know exactly what I am doing,” she giggles.

She says school is boring. “The boys are soshoku-kei danshi,” she says referring to males who are uninterested in sex or getting a girlfriend. “If you want to go for a walk let me know.”

To go on a stroll with a girl over 18 is not illegal, so he is directed to another cafe in the same building, where he meets a girl of suitable age. She is a bit sexier, notably when she smiles her mouth forms the shape of duckbill.

The basic price for a stroll is 5,000 yen for 30 minutes, she tells him, adding that neither he nor she need not worry about being in trouble with the law.

“If the girl is over the age of 18, she will not be taken into protective custody for sexual activity,” she says. “So we can go to a karaoke box for a blow- or hand-job session. Charges are somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 yen. I know of girls who will have full sex for 10,000 yen.”

There is no punishment for violating the new regulation, which is laughable, says an employee in the industry.

“A violator is supposed to write a letter of apology,” says the employee. “So to just continue as is makes sense.” (K.N.)

Source: “Geneki joshi kosei tebiki suru ‘JK osanpo sono saki no H,'” Friday (Apr. 25, pages 86-87)