|While not a prostitute, this young lady is criminally hot.|
I've amended the blog a wee bit since this was first published in 2011. Update May 2016.
The first thing you need to know is that age of sexual consent in Japan is 13.
I had no idea.
Usually, I'm pretty good at picking up on such things... and in the following case, I would have pushed back.
As a junior high school teacher in Ohtawara-shi, Toichigi-ken, Japan, I constantly had young girls pressing themselves all over me and trying to hold my hand or give me massages (no happy ending!).
It was a little disturbing, and I did accept the offers of a massage in the teacher's office, but I never thought there was anything untoward in the way they acted towards me.
But, not once did I suspect that there might be any student offering themselves up as a prostitute. Personally, I doubt that sort of stuff went on in my tiny do inaka (boondocks) of a city. But what the heck does anyone really know about what goes on in their city?
Japan's Anti-Prostitution Law of 1956 states (in English translation) that "No person may either do prostitution or become the customer of it," but the law contains many loopholes and liberal interpretations of the law, which in turn has caused a loose enforcement of the law, which has allowed Japan to establish a sex trade industry to comes into some ¥2.3 trillion (Cdn/US $27.2 billion) a year.
A recent article (as of 2011) in the international press states that prostitution is rife in Japanese schools, with schoolgirls of ever younger ages selling their bodies for extra spending money, both to adults and among themselves.
Prices for girls in elementary school are said to have dropped below ¥3,000 (~Cdn/US $36), leading some to wonder what has and will become of the nation’s public morals.
In many cases the prostitution is conducted through deai-kei (出会い系... which means 'meeting') sites, often relationship-focused BBSes (bulletin board systems) designed for use with mobile phones.
There is a case of a junior school boy who pimped a 13-year-old girl for over ¥60,000 (~Cdn/US $712) by using a deai-kei BBS; and other school girls who use the site to pimp themselves.
Known as enjo kousai (paid dating), a whole industry of schoolgirl prostitution has sprung up, with girls being called 'JC' within the slang of the sites (JC = Joshi Chugakusei - which means junior high school student), and with the large amounts of money involved encouraging involvement in the trade.
A junior high boy is said to have advertised: “Recruiting JC in Kanagawa. You can make a lot so anyone looking for dates come to me,” and to have pimped out a 16-year-old girl for ¥40,000 (~$475).
Such prices are said to be the exception rather than the rule, with prices very much lower for students who set themselves up—or when they are even younger in age. Cases show that high school students sold their wares to one another for a paltry ¥3,000 ($36), while junior high kids charged even less.
This is not about getting rich. It's about getting pocket change.
These so-called dating sites are been monitored with greater urgency by the Japanese police, but like prostitution in any country, these sites can operate discretely even with the police supervision.
In a case of "D'uh", there is a nationwide filtering of child access to the Internet as a solution, and does appear to be working.
Thankfully, Japan has been promoting the use of condoms, so pregnancies have been kept low.
Having said that, some Japanese girls are blasé about condom usage and have no concerns getting pregnant—and even the dear-old school teacher will often turn a blind eye to pregnancies rather than get involved.
Despite condom usage, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in Japan, as healthcare officials have noted that up to 30 per cent of those with STDs were teenagers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, university students are also involved in prostitution—it's not really a rare event anymore.
The newspaper article then notes that traditionally Japan has blamed the men/boys involved, and openly penalizes them while instead offering counseling to the females.
Personally, if there were no women offering sexual services for money, then prostitution would not exist. If there were greater and equal penalties for those offering themselves for money, as well as for those seeking such favors, perhaps there wouldn't be such a yen for the world's oldest profession... and I'm not talking about farming.
Here's a link to another one of my blogs on the topic - how the solicitation was DONE.
Somewhere wondering what the parents of these kids are doing,