ダンス営業規制 実態に即した法改正が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:55 pm, April 28, 2014
Law regulating dance clubs should be revised to reflect current reality
ダンス営業規制 実態に即した法改正が必要だ

Regulating dance classes under the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses can be considered off the mark. The law should be revised to reflect reality.

The Osaka District Court has acquitted the former operator of a dance club accused of running the establishment without permission in violation of the law, based on its judgment that “it cannot be said the operator allowed customers to engage in the kind of hedonistic dancing regulated by the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.”

However, the court also rejected the claim by the defense counsel that “the law infringes on the freedom of business activity and is therefore unconstitutional,” concluding that “regulation is needed for the public benefit and is thus constitutional.”

We believe it is appropriate to acknowledge the rationality of controlling the excesses of sex entertainment businesses, while also clarifying the facts in individual cases involving dance clubs and other operations.

Some of the law’s stipulations are outdated because it regards all businesses related to dance as “adult entertainment” and regulates them in the same way.

Regulation of dance businesses was included when the law was enacted in 1948, just after the end of World War II. At that time, dance halls were considered hotbeds of prostitution.

Currently, the operation of dance businesses, including dance halls and classes that do not serve food or drinks, in principle requires permission from a public safety commission. Such businesses are prohibited from opening establishments close to residential areas, schools, hospitals and some other locations. Also, their business hours must end at midnight in principle, and they are off limits to people younger than 18.

Popularity of dancing rising

More people are enjoying dancing as a fitness or artistic activity, and ballroom dance is popular mainly among the elderly. Considering these circumstances, it may be advisable to scrap the regulation of dance halls and dance classes.

But dance clubs should remain subject to some regulation. They usually play reverberating music very loudly, triggering many complaints from neighbors because of the noise and vibrations. Furthermore, drug trade and violence are sometimes associated with dance clubs.

A suprapartisan group of about 60 Diet members, called the league of lawmakers promoting dance culture, is trying to submit a bill to revise the law during the current Diet session.

Among their proposals, the one most likely to be adopted is to abolish the regulation of dance halls and classes but continue to regulate the location of dance clubs, while allowing them to extend their business hours if they get permission.

A considerable number of dance clubs are deliberately operating without official permission because they would have a hard time attracting customers if they closed early. The bill under study by the lawmakers perhaps merits consideration, as it presents realistic controls.

At a subcommittee meeting of the government’s Council for Regulatory Reform, some members called for using dance clubs to attract tourists in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

What matters most is to create an environment for people to enjoy dancing in a wholesome manner.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 28, 2014)

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