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Tokyo Police Inspect Many Host Clubs en Masse

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department are seen about to enter a host club in the Kabukicho district in Tokyo on Friday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Tokyo police have conducted on-site inspections of many male host clubs en masse as predatory practices by such establishments targeting women have emerged as a social problem.

The inspections began around 7 p.m. Friday on some 350 establishments, including host clubs in Tokyo’s Kabukicho, Japan’s largest nightlife district in the capital’s Shinjuku Ward. Host clubs are bars where male drinking companions serve customers.

Some 130 investigators checked whether the establishments follow laws and rules, including whether they explicitly ban minors from entering.

The National Police Agency sent notices in November instructing prefectural police departments to strengthen crackdowns on malicious host clubs, including those that charge customers extortionate fees for drinks and services sold on credit and force them into prostitution in order to collect the debt.

On Dec. 5, host club managers in Kabukicho promised Shinjuku Ward that they will abolish the sale-on-credit system next April. On Wednesday, they said they will ban their establishments from accepting new customers aged under 20.