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Osaka ‘girl’s bar’ employed 12-year-old girl

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka prefectural police on April 27 announced the bust of a specialty hostess club in the Minami entertainment area for employing two teenage girls enrolled in elementary and middle school, reports Nikkan Sports (April 27).

Kenjiro Hara, 25, the manager of “girl’s bar” Ace, and another employee were taken into custody for violating the Labor Standards Act and the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.

According to prefectural police, Hara allegedly staffed his club with two girls, aged 12 and 13, attired in miniskirts.

“Young girls work for low wages, so it is profitable,” Hara is quoted by police.

A girl’s bar is a variation of a hostess club in which the club is legally registered as an after-hours, eating-and-drinking establishment so as to avoid more strict regulations under the adult-entertainment law.

The club, which opened last year, offers space for 25 customers to drink all they wish at a rate of 2,000 yen for one hour. Staff members are typically teen girls, who are also required to solicit customers off the street, reports Yukan Fuji (May 13).

According to prefectural police, the teens claimed in February to be 14 years of age upon introduction to the manager through an acquaintance.

The pair were put to work on February 13 and 16. They solicited customers in the Ebisu Bridge area of the entertainment district. However, since the girls were unable to recruit any customers not one yen in salary was paid.

On February 17, an officer from the prefectural police spotted the middle school girl in rather showy makeup touting for customers in the Ebisu Bridge district. When questioned, she said she worked at a girl’s bar. Officers raided Ace on April 14 and took Hara into custody. At the time of the bust, officers found four 16- and 17-year-old female staff members.

The strategy of girl’s bar operators is to make the establishment appear to be for eating and drinking when in fact near hostess-club services are being supplied. One key is to have the female staff members positioned behind the bar counter, opposite the customers, as opposed to positioned side by side. An important benefit is the ability to stay open past 12:00 a.m., which for a hostess club is illegal under the adult-entertainment law.

Yukan Fuji says that since the girls are employed on a commission basis they are encouraged to drink large quantities of alcohol with customers. Such a policy led to tragedy earlier this year.

On the afternoon of February 12, a third-year high school girl was found dead at girl’s bar Sora. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death was later determined to be acute alcohol poisoning.