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Some are tourists, here to gawp and take selfies, but others are customers.
Adverts for clubs flash and sing and girls dressed as maids hold s offering deals for local bars. In a grubby shopfront a perky cartoon featuring a cute Mr Men-style creature offers part-time work. Tokyo is famous for its fairly wild red light scene.
Buying and selling sex in cyberspace
You can also pay to spend time with a schoolgirl. Services might include a chat over a cup of tea, a walk in the park or perhaps a photograph — with some places offering rather more intimate options. Or at least, you can for now — unless the people inside the garish pink bus have their way. Run by the charity Colabo since Octoberthe pink bus appears in strategically chosen spaces in the city once a week; tonight it is parked outside Shinjuku town hall.
Volunteers hope to use it to provide a safe space for school-age girls at risk of being lured into the joshi kosei, or JK business, as the schoolgirl-themed services are known. As Japan's capital enters a year in the spotlight, from the Rugby World up to the Olympics, Guardian Cities is spending a week reporting live from the largest megacity on Earth. Despite being the world's riskiest place — with 37 million people vulnerable to tsunami, flooding and due a potentially catastrophic earthquake — it is also one of the most resilient, both in its hi-tech de and its pragmatic social structure.
Using manga, photography, film and a group of salarimen rappers, we'll hear from the locals how they feel about their famously impenetrable city finally embracing its global crown. But while many of these have a strict no-touch policy, a proportion do lead to physical encounters.
And while non-physical encounters may make up the majority compensated dating Washington reported cases of JK activity, the fact that sex does not take place does not mean no harm is done.
Crucially, in the case of JK businesses, Japan has no specific anti-trafficking laws in place. Ordinarily, under 18 involved in sex work is automatically considered trafficked, with harsh penalties for those responsible. Inwith the Olympics approaching, the police cracked down on the rising of JK businesses across Tokyo.
A new ordinance requires JK businesses to be registered with the police, and prohibits the employment of girls under the age of JK businesses cannot be located within metres of schools, nurseries, hospitals or other public buildings, and no one under 18 can distribute fliers for the businesses, or recruit other teenagers.
Superintendent Hiroyuki Nakada, deputy manager of the Juvenile Support Division, says the police are confident that their strategy is working. Nakada says that thanks to the new, tight regulations, just three shops were prosecuted and fined last year. Critics argue that business owners have found new ways to circumvent the law.
The problem may now simply be less visible; more owners operate online, away from physical shops and cafes, and some may have simply opened new businesses under different guises. The shop opens a Twitter and they follow girls using it. Fujiwara believes that the government trying to crack down on JK business may look good on the surface, but does nothing to ban other types exploitation.
She also points out that more attention should be paid to buyers and to trying to change the mindset of a society that accepts commodifying children. From this sprang the practice of enjo kosaior compensated dating, in which middle-aged men offered financial support to teenage girls in return for sexual relationships. This practice then became diversified and commodified into what is now know as JK business.
It is necessary to educate and regulate adults or offenders who buy girls a lot more than educating children. Although the police might count it a victory that some JK businesses no longer employ those under 18, Nito argues that it does not touch the root of the problem. Even if the girls offering JK services are of legal age, it contributes to a dangerous and pervasive culture of the sexualisation of minors. After all, they are pretending to be underage schoolgirls, feeding an appetite for the illicit buying of pornography and making real schoolgirls more vulnerable.
This article was amended on 17 June to more accurately reflect the views of Shihoko Fujiwara regarding the effectiveness of the crackdown on JK businesses. Guardian Cities is live in Tokyo for a special week of in-depth reporting. Share your experiences of the city on TwitterFacebook and Instagram using GuardianTokyo, or via to cities theguardian.
Guardian Tokyo week Cities. Schoolgirls for sale: why Tokyo struggles to stop the 'JK business'. Tash Reith-Banks in Tokyo. Sat compensated dating Washington Jun Show As Japan's capital enters a year in the spotlight, from the Rugby World up to the Olympics, Guardian Cities is spending a week reporting live from the largest megacity on Earth.
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