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Impoverished Tokyo females can no longer fall back on the sex trade

Crackdowns on the fuzoku industry are eliminating an option for side work for women living in poverty
Crackdowns on the fuzoku industry are negatively impacting women living in poverty
Of the policies contained in “Abenomics” — a collection of economic initiatives conceived to end years of deflation — one is the increase in the number of women in the workforce.

Government statistics reveal a currently grim situation: One-third of employable females who live alone earn less than 1.14 million yen per year, the income figure that is used to define poverty.

Time was, reports Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 1), such women might have found side work in the fuzoku sex trade, but preparations for the upcoming Olympics Games in Tokyo include cleaning up red-light districts in the metropolis.

“Nowadays, for job interviews at sex clubs, nine out of 10 women will be refused,” says “pink” writer Taizo Ebina.

For those making the cut, physical appearance, conversational skills and schooling are important. “This is the era of the educated sex worker,” claims the writer.

Such selectivity is due to a decrease in number of such businesses as the city attempts to sharpen its image prior to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of tourists in 2020.

“For the Olympics, red-light districts are being clamped down upon,” says the manager of a fuzoku shop in the red-light district of Kabukicho. “If a place stays open even one minute later than as designated by the law, the police will be there to issue a warning. Opposition will only result in arrest and the closing of the shop.”

According to the National Police Agency, Tokyo had 847 “fashion health” joints — which offer oral sex as administered by hostesses attired in uniforms — in 2007. Six years later, there were 813. Also experiencing declines over the same period were soapland bathhouses (1,239 to 1,218), adult-goods shops (340 to 232) and “encounter” coffee shops.

“The trend now is to switch to ‘delivery health,'” says Ebina, referring to out-call sex services. “But there is too much competition, and, under a commission system, there are girls who will work for less than 50,000 yen each month. These women can’t live with that money.”

Many will shift to “pink salon” joints, which offer hourly salaries. But these establishments are also facing crackdowns.

Ehina says that the “fuzoku caste” system, in which a woman could drop down within the industry as her value decreased, does not function any longer.

“Right now, a woman cannot move down the ladder,” says Ebina (K.N.)

Source: “Tokyo gorin ni korosareru,” Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 1, page 4)