Japan’s Fuzoku Laws, Internet Cafés, and…Child Abuse?

“It’s likely that many net cafes will now move to transparent doors so they can keep an eye on their customers.” The fuzoku Laws are Japan’s set of regulations and statutes designed to regulate “adult entertainments”, such as gambling, prostitution and liquor. Apparently, these laws are often used to control the late-night activities at bars and nightclubs where law enforcement officials decide the music is too loud, the booze is flowing too freely, and the dancing is going on far too late into the night. Fuzoku laws have been criticized for years as being antiquated, arbitrarily enforced, and hard to understand. The latest set of establishments to come under possible fuzoku scrutiny are internet cafés. Police in Tokyo and other major Japanese cities fear that the private rooms and cubicles in internet cafés may be the new venues of choice for child prostitution activities. If this is true, it is truly horrible; but at this point it seems to be more rumor than verified fact. Nevertheless, police are considering clamping down on the operation of private internet café rooms by making them subject to a fuzoku law which requires rooms measuring less than five square meters (in which food and alcohol are served) have permits to operate. What this would mean is that every private room in a particular internet café would require a separate permit to operate, which could get very costly for internet café owners. It might even put some out of business. The bottom line, though, is that Japanese police are totally right in doing whatever they can to stop the scourge of child prostitution. It’s just that the laws they will probably use to do so will make things very difficult for lots of legitimate businesses. (The Tokyo Times – Internet Café Paranoia) For a more complete explanation of fuzoku laws, see this piece on CNNGo.