Police to intensify crackdown on illegal activities in host clubs

Japanese police are to consider tougher guidance or a crackdown on host clubs, which provide entertainment catering to women. An increasing number of female clients are being forced into prostitution or other crimes to pay off their debt after running up a large tab.

A senior official with the National Police Agency answered questions at a meeting of the Lower House committee on health, labor and welfare on Friday.

The official said the agency intends to implement such measures as investigating illegal activities by host clubs, instructing them to abide by the law, and issuing warnings.

At a Diet meeting on Thursday, National Public Safety Commission Chairperson Matsumura Yoshifumi also raised questions about the way malicious host clubs drive female customers into debt.

There have been cases in which women struggling to pay off debt to host clubs were arrested for alleged prostitution or other crimes.

The National Police Agency says 11 hosts, or male companions at nightclubs, had been questioned or taken into custody for allegedly forcing women into prostitution or other crimes over a period of about five years through September.

Police across Japan are considering stepping up measures to prevent such clubs from malicious practices.