Get ready to dance in the streets–Japan to revise anti-dance laws! (Maybe)
The Japanese government will submit a bill to revise the controversial laws regulating dance clubs this fall in a special Diet session, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.
National Public Safety Commission Chair Keiji Furuya told reporters after a Cabinet meeting that the government will soon establish a group of experts at the National Police Agency to discuss the issue. Furuya said that the proposed revisions to the current Entertainment Business Law will reflect the recommendations submitted by a government committee which asked the government to relax the laws.
In Japan it’s technically illegal to dance past midnight or 1 A.M. at an establishment that serves alcohol under an outdated law called the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business. The law requires businesses who wish to operate as nightclubs to register and forbids the establishment of clubs that have “dancing which results in the disruption of public sexual morality.”
For years the police have turned a blind eye to all the nightclubs which had been operating illegally, but starting in Osaka in 2010, the police had been arresting nightclub owners for breaking the law. The crackdown moved to Tokyo after a man was clubbed to death in the VIP section of a nightclub by members of a gang called Kanto Rengo in front of hundreds of dancers. Since then, several nightclubs in the area were closed down.
In April the dance laws were challenged when an Osaka court acquitted Masatoshi Kanemitsu, the owner of a nightclub called NOON, of charges of “corrupting sexual morals” and violating adult entertainment laws. Kanemitsu’s lawyer, Kenichi Nishikawa, told the Daily Beast: “It was a victory for common sense and freedom to dance. It is historic and significant, and while not finding the current laws unconstitutional, the courts ruled both that the police were too broadly interpreting the laws and that dance in and of itself is not a corruptor of public morals. Nor does it make people throw off their clothes.”
Yesterday’s announcement is a victory for anyone who just want to go out for a night of fun. While it’ll be several months before you can go out in the streets and celebrate with a dance, Japanese politicians are beginning to realize that the dance laws won’t help out the country as the 2020 Olympics approaches.
Picture from Let’s DANCE.