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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                      


Two notable characteristic of the post-war economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Japan

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Japan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Polaris Project Japan – 050-3496-7615

International Organization for Migration -35 45 24 87

Country code: 813-



JAPAN: 'Dating cafes' fostering child prostitution

Yomiuri OnLine, 7 October 2008

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Cases of child prostitution involving dating-service cafes have been increasing sharply, prompting some local governments to take measures such as banning people under 18 from entering such establishments.  Inside the cafes, men choose women from among the female clientele and try to secure dates with them. The system has triggered many cases of prostitution involving minors.  In a sizable number of such cases, minors who entered the cafes purely out of curiosity have been targeted.

One such facility near JR Yokohama Station displays a sign saying, "Coffee shop with manga library--no entrance fee for women." The floor is separated into two areas by a one-way mirror with the height of the floor in the men's area about 50 centimeters lower than that of the women's.  Male customers, some wearing business suits, gaze at young women sitting on sofas through the one-way mirror.  Female customers cannot see the men.

The Protection Project - Japan [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Child prostitution and child pornography are serious problems in Japan. Child prostitution is reportedly rising in Japan, thanks in part to the growing use of the Internet. Of Japan’s more than 3,000 pornographic sites, 40 percent contain images of minors. Between January and November 2002, 666 cases of child prostitution relating to online dating sites were filed, nearly 300 more than those filed in 2001.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Hot Line Reaches Out To Women Forced Into Sexual Slavery In Japan

Chie Matsumoto, Asian Sex Gazette, April 30, 2005

[accessed 16 February 2011]

After the State Department listed Japan in the next-to-worst category, the government began efforts to eradicate human trafficking and rescue rather than penalize victims, as well as prosecuting offenders.  The hot line numbers: 0120-879-871 for English and Japanese,  0120-879-872 for Thai,  0120-879-873 for Chinese and  0120-879-874 for Tagalog.

ECPAT Country Overview - A report on the scale, scope and context of  the sexual exploitation of children [PDF]

Kevin Ryu, ECPAT International, 2018

[accessed 1 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Japan. The overview gathers existing publicly available information on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, child early and forced marriage (CEFM) and identifies gaps, research needs, and recommendations

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 1 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - Child prostitution is illegal, with penalties including prison sentences or fines. Statutory rape laws criminalize sexual intercourse with a girl younger than age 13, notwithstanding her consent. The penalty for statutory rape is not less than three years’ imprisonment with mandatory labor. The law was enforced. Additionally, national law and local ordinances address sexual abuse of minors. Possession of child pornography is a crime. The commercialization of child pornography is illegal; the penalty is imprisonment with labor for not more than three years or a fine not exceeding three million yen ($27,600). Police continued to crack down on this crime.

The continued practice of enjo kosai (“compensated dating”) and the existence of websites for online dating, social networking, and “delivery health” (a euphemism for call-girl or escort services) facilitated the sex trafficking of children and other commercial sex industries. The government’s interagency taskforce to combat child sex trafficking in joshi kosei (or “JK” businesses)–dating services connecting adult men with underage girls–and in forced pornography continued to strengthen its crackdown on such businesses. In 2018 authorities identified 137 of these operations nationwide. A total of 69 individuals alleged to have been engaged in unspecified criminal activities surrounding the JK business were arrested, and seven major prefectures passed ordinances banning JK businesses, prohibiting girls younger than 18 from working in “compensated dating services,” or requiring JK business owners to register their employee rosters with local public safety commissions. NGOs helping girls in the JK business reported a link between these activities and the commercial sexual exploitation of children in prostitution.

The country was a site for the production of child pornography and the exploitation of children by traffickers.

No law addresses the unfettered availability of sexually explicit cartoons, comics, and video games, some of which depicted scenes of violent sexual abuse and the rape of children.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 28 February 2011]

[51] The Committee welcomes the adoption and implementation of the Law on Punishing Acts related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on Protecting Children (1999). However, it is concerned that:  (a) The Penal Code maintains a narrow definition of rape as an act committed by a male against a female;  (b) All victims of sexual exploitation do not have access to appropriate recovery and assistance services;  (c) There have been reports of child victims being treated as criminals;  (d) There have been reports of the practice of "enjo kosai", or compensated dating;  (e) The low minimum age of consent, which might contribute to the practice of "enjo kosai", hampers the prosecution of sexual abuse of children.

Web solicitation of kids shifting from dating sites

Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri, February 20, 2009

[partially accessed 5 June 2011 - access restricted]

The number of children who became victims of crimes, including child prostitution, last year via Web sites other than dating sites rose to 792, compared with 724 who became involved in crimes via dating sites, according to the National Police Agency.

The NPA is stepping up its efforts on the presumption that the conduit for communication leading to possible child prostitution is shifting away from dating sites to self-introducing "profile" sites …

Japan child porn cases surge to record high

Agence France-Presse AFP, Tokyo, Feb 24, 2011

[accessed 4 October 2012]

A total of 618 children under 18 were recorded as having fallen victim to pornographic exploitation, up 52.6 percent, police said.

Japan and Russia are the only members of the G8 group of industrialised nations where the possession of child porn remains legal. It is banned and subject to penalties in more than 70 countries.

The head of the Polaris Project, a US-based anti-human trafficking group, last week told Japanese lawmakers that “significant percentages of the images involve children being gagged, bound, tied with ropes or even blindfolded”.

The young ones

William Sparrow, Hong Kong, May 10, 2008

[accessed 5 June 2011]

The practice of an older man taking a young, school-aged Japanese girl out on a "date" in exchange for money in Japan is referred to as enjo kosai, or "compensated dating". To say that enjo kosai is prostitution or - in a Western view - child prostitution, may not always be accurate. The date may not necessarily include sex, and the inherent cultural complexities can strain perceptions of the practice.

Japan has one of the lowest ages of sexual consent in the world; it's as low as 13 in metro Tokyo and the national age of consent ranges between 13 and 18 depending on the province. In fact, in Japan, the practice of having sex with teenage girls is not prosecutable if the young woman says "yes". This is where enjo kosai acts a loophole; any girl saying "yes, but for 50,000 yen" (US$495)immediately renders the situation illegal. The brunt of punishment, however, falls on the male customer, generally for solicitation and prostitution. Such cases can be aggravated by the fact the female is a minor, or under 18 in terms of recent legislation.

This is where the loophole becomes a pedophile's dream scenario. If he "dates" the underage woman, buys her gifts and occasionally provides her with cash ostensibly for shopping, buying books or spending time with friends, then the money or gifts were not technically provided on a sex-for-money transaction. Otherwise, this would equal prostitution and be punishable by law.

Japan National Police Agency Targets Online Dating Sites / Agency Wants Stricter Regulations as Current Law Being Ignored

WUNRN News, Jan. 18, 2008

[accessed 5 June 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

The NPA aims to directly impose stricter regulations and beef up its monitoring of Internet dating service operators, because the law governing such services, which prohibits minors under 18 from using them, has been largely ignored.  As a result, there have been numerous cases of child prostitution in which many minors became victims.  The service operators also would be obliged to delete messages connected with underage girls posted on their Web site.

According to the NPA, there are about 5,000 dating service sites on the Internet. The number of young people under 18 who were victims of sex crimes in connection with dating service sites in 2006 increased 92 from the previous year to 1,153. Of the victims, 95 percent accessed the sites via cell phone.

Paedophilia: Southeast Asia's sordid secret

Agence France-Presse AFP, Phnom Penh, Oct 18, 2007

[accessed 5 June 2011]

[scroll down to >>>  Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:52 pm ]

Australia and Japan, sources of child sex tourists, have dealt with the issue in vastly different ways.  In Japan, criticised as the world's main producer of underage pornography, the number of prosecutions involving child prostitution and pornography has risen in recent years -- peaking at 1,080 cases in the first half of last year.  But, said Keiko Saito, a Tokyo-based ECPAT official: "The government has done nothing to stop sex tourists from Japan."  One Japanese man was sentenced to prison after having sex with a 15-year-old Cambodian girl and posting pictures on his homepage last year but his sentence was suspended after he paid the girl compensation.

Cyber child prostitution on rise in Japan

Agence France-Presse AFP, Tokyo, 08/23/2007

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Arrests were made in 1,808 cases of Internet crime, up by six cases from the same period last year and the highest since 2003 when police started compiling similar half-year data.

For child prostitution, in which minors meet with adult clients on dating and other websites, the number of cases jumped 62.7 percent.

Nagoya pair arrested for using teenage prostitute

August 29, 2007

[[Last access date unavailable]

Two Nagoya men who paid a teenage girl for sex despite knowing she was aged under 18 have been arrested, police said.

Both men reportedly got to know the girl through a cell-phone voice-mail dating service.

Child pornography numbers hit record high in Japan

Brad Rice, 08/14/2007

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Police said that 718 child prostitution cases were reported during the period. The number of child victims in these cases totaled 651. Two of the children were elementary school students, 210 were junior high school students and 265 were high school students.

High school pimp arrested for forcing 3 girls into prostitution

Mainichi Daily News, July 9, 2007

[accessed 5 June 2011]

A high school boy has been arrested for forcing three teenage girls into prostitution, police announced Monday.

Investigators are interrogating the boy on suspicions that he forced the girls, aged 16 to 17, to sell themselves to around 120 men between September last year and March this year, netting about 3.8 million yen.

The boy solicited customers by placing an advertisement on a Website. He gave 60 percent of his earnings to the girls while pocketing the reminder, according to investigators.

Record 316 child abuse victims reported in 2006

Mainichi Daily News, February 16, 2007

[accessed 14 September 2011]

Child prostitution and pornography cases in which police apprehended suspects increased to a record 2,229 incidents, an 8.8 percent increase compared with the previous year. The figures highlight the difficult conditions under which many children are being brought up.

Police to promote cell-phone filtering to stop students accessing 'harmful' sites

Mainichi Daily News, 20 Jan 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Between January and November last year, 41 junior high school students involved in child prostitution incidents uncovered by the MPD were found to have met their clients through mobile dating sites. Police plan to approach school parent-teacher associations to make them more aware of filtering systems that can block out such content.

Buddhist priest busted for child prostitution

Mainichi Daily News, October 5, 2006

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Ikarashi paid 20,000 yen each to two third-year junior high school girls to have sex with him at a hotel in Niigata in January 2005, local police said. The priest had got acquainted with the girls through a telephone dating club in Niigata, according to investigators.

Internet crimes peak in Japan

Martyn Williams, PC Advisor, 17 August 2006

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Cases of child prostitution involving under-18s met through Internet dating sites totalled 169 cases in the six month period, a jump of 18 percent on the year-ago, while child pornography crimes totalled 97, up 43 percent.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – JAPAN – The main weaknesses of the plan are that it does not contain specific objectives or programs to be implemented, it has no timeframe for implementation, and it lists no progress indicators. Furthermore, there is no mention of a central coordinating body that would be both accountable and responsible for implementation of activities.

Prostitution ring earned 100 million yen using underage girls

Mainichi Daily News, Fukuoka, November 11, 2005

[accessed 5 June 2011]

The operators of a Fukuoka-based prostitution ring called "Candy Club" sent 61 teenage girls to customers some 3,000 times over an 18-month period beginning in March last year, raking in sales of about 100 million yen, police investigators have learned.  The club reportedly solicited clients through cell-phone based sites. Some of the girls were as young as 14, and none were older than 17. One of the girls reportedly brought in 3 million yen for the ring over two months.

Child Exploitation on the Internet [DOC]

Mofolake Akinwonmi, CS5038 Exploitation On the Internet.doc

[accessed 5 June 2011]

CHILD PROSTITUTION - In Japan, it was reported by the National Police Agency (NPA) that the rate of child prostitution was rising due to the growing use of the Internet by teenagers soliciting sex. A total of 666 cases of child prostitution relating to online dating sites were filed by the NPA in Japan between January and November 2002, 286 more than those filed in 2001. The NPA report said that girls below the age of 18 years solicited sex mostly by using web sites to contact cell phone users. At the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Yokohama, in December 2001, the Japanese Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama expressed concern over the fact that the internet is making it more difficult to tackle the explosion in rate of child prostitution.  The exploiters were increasingly cunning and there was a huge increase in paedophile sites on the Internet.

Is the Eroticisation of Children in Japanese Anime a Serious Social Problem?

Tony McNicol, The Japan Times, April 27, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 June 2011]

ECPAT released an annual report drawing attention to "compensated dating" or "enjo-kosai," a form of amateur teenage prostitution they say is a serious problem in Japan and other SE Asian countries. Last year 1746 people were arrested in Japan for offenses related to telephone dating sites (according to the police, the main way schoolgirls and their customers arrange to meet).

At Last, Japan Is Shamed Into Outlawing Child Prostitution

Roger and Machiko Buckley, The New York Times, Tokyo, May 28, 1999

[accessed 5 June 2011]

The Diet's belated passage of legislation banning child prostitution is evidence of shifting attitudes in Japanese society.

Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution

INTERPOL, Legislation of INTERPOL member states on sexual offences against children, Spring 2006

[accessed 5 June 2011]

ARTICLE 1 - OBJECTIVE - The objective of this Law is to protect the rights of children by prescribing punishment for acts related to child prostitution and child pornography, and by establishing measures including the giving of appropriate protection to children who have suffered physically and/or mentally from the said acts.

Child Prostitution Problem Focus Of Japan Summit

Canadian Television Network CTV, Dec. 16 2001

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Host country Japan was once labeled a safe have for perpetrators of sex crimes against children. But under international pressure, Japan passed laws in 1999 that made it a criminal offense to pay for sex with anyone under 18 and banned the sale and distribution of child pornography.  Nevertheless, Japan is still believed to be the largest distributor of child pornography in the world, and the country is struggling with widespread teenage prostitution.

Enjo kosai or child prostitution in Japan

My Nippon

[accessed 5 June 2011]

This fact of Japanese life, if not understood without complete context, sounds repulsive.  Most non-Japanese people analyze this situation by saying, “Oh! These teenage girls have no idea about the risks that they are putting themselves to – both physical and emotional.  There should be a law banning all this”.  We believe that enjo kosai is definitely not a healthy practice but here are some facts about Japanese society that better explain the background of this trend in Japan.

A Living Hell;  A cultural perspective on Child Prostitution in the Far East

Jim Blaylock, 27 Feb, 2001

[accessed 5 June 2011]

In this treatise, we will examine the cultural attitudes and special relations regarding the plague of sexual abuse of children in the Far East. In doing so, we will be comparing the various views and actions of the Philippines, Japan, Thailand and Cambodia against the definition that any sexual activity with a child under 18 years of age, or any act that sexually exploits a child is abusive.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - JAPAN [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 5 June 2011]

Matchmaking or dating websites have become a well-known channel for commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Japan. Many underage Japanese schoolgirls fall prey to ‘enjo kosai’ (‘compensated dating’) by using ‘deai kei’ websites: through which they can make their contact details available, and use pagers, computers and mobile phones (the most common method) to arrange ‘dates’ with customers who are older and often married. Research has shown that many such girls do not engage in ‘enjo kosai’ out of poverty, but rather to be able to purchase brand name clothes, bags, shoes, mobile phones, etc., which, according to them, boosts their self-esteem. They often come from dysfunctional families (sometimes middle-class) or experience problems at school. Some of them suffer the additional abuse of being videotaped during sexual activity.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Trafficking of minors, teenage prostitution, dating for money, and child pornography continued to be problems. According to the government, during the year there were 1,582 sex‑related crimes associated with Internet dating sites.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Japan",, [accessed <date>]