Pressured by Tokyo ‘JK’ ordinance, Kanagawa mulls crackdown on firms that dispatch underage teens


The Kanagawa Prefectural Government is considering strengthening its regulations on dating services that hire teenagers, by restricting businesses that dispatch underage staff to customers.

The prefecture prohibits operators of such services from having women under 18 make physical contact with customers in private rooms, but does not restrict dispatch businesses.

By amending the ordinance, the prefecture aims to restrict services provided within facilities outside of private rooms, and the dispatch of workers under 18 for purposes of engaging in physical contact, sexual poses, or accompanying customers on a “walk.”

Firms engaged in the so-called JK business hire teenage girls to offer rifure (massage) or komyu (chatting) services. In some cases, they offer unpublicized options that include sexual services. JK stands for joshi kosei (high school girls).

The prefecture also plans to require facilities related to JK businesses place signs that say those younger than 18 are not allowed to enter. The headquarters of dispatch operators may become subject to on-site investigations as well.

The move was precipitated by a new Tokyo ordinance targeting JK businesses that may force such firms to move to Kanagawa, said Yoriko Kashiwagi, an official in Kanagawa Prefecture’s Youth Affairs Division.

The Tokyo ordinance, passed on July 1, prohibits those under 18 from working for JK businesses. Violators can face penalties of up to a year in prison or a ¥1 million fine.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, as of the end of June Tokyo had 41 JK businesses that have their own facilities but do not dispatch workers, and 35 companies that offer dispatch services but lack their own facilities.

Kashiwagi said Kanagawa has four JK businesses in the prefecture but said none of their employees were under 18.

According to Kashiwagi, the proposed regulation would take effect before the end of fiscal 2017, which will end on March 31.

The Kanagawa Prefectural Office is accepting public comments on the proposal until Aug. 8.

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