Business, Economics and Jobs

'Abenomics' gives Tokyo sex trade a boost


After his sweeping election victory, incoming Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said this week that there can be no compromise on the sovereignty of the Senkaku islands.


Yoshikazu Tsuno

SEOUL, South Korea — Despite speculation to the contrary, "Abenomics" has proven to boost Tokyo's sex trade.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy of "Abenomics" consists of a massive stimulus to bring down the price of the yen and make Japanese exports more attractive.

Since November, his policies have boosted the Nikkei stock market by 60 percent, even though the markets have been starting to cool lately. 

The fiscal drive is having subtle effects across Japanese society, including the country's titanic erotic industry.

With a cheaper currency, high-end escort companies are reporting an influx of Chinese tourists, enthralled by pornographic Japanese movies.

Sex workers have also told local media that the presence of tourists is causing cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, such as the reluctance of guests to pay extra for various "services."

"Our girls are priced based on rank," said the owner and manager of adult club Tora no Ana (Tiger Hole), which is essentially a call-girl service.

"The rates for our top-class talent begin at 150,000 yen for the first 70 minutes. Right now, we have 70 customers on our waiting list. I couldn't have imagined such a situation a year ago."

And Tora no Ana isn't the only club that has benefited from Abe's 10.3 trillion-yen ($116 billion) fiscal stimulus.

In one of Tokyo's red-light districts, Sopurando, the price of a basic half-hour "massage" has recently gone up for the first time since 1990, soaring to 60,000 yen ($600).

More from GlobalPost: Japan's GDP growth more than expected under 'Abenomics'

But the current sex-trade boom came only after the industry cut some prices earlier this year in order to boost business.

Clubs have used several methods to attract more customers, including complimentary visits and the sharing of sex workers. Some clubs have also started giving discounts for volume business.

"For example, if three guys go into a fuzoku club, one guy will be on the house," said Akira Ikoma, editor of Japan's monthly guide to men's entertainment, Ore no Tabi. "Also, if a customer uses a particular club four times, one trip will not be charged.

"The key for the clubs is to keep customers coming. Allowing female employees to sit around with nothing to do is to be avoided."

Sex workers can also be shared for a lower price. For instance, a customer would pay 15,000 yen ($150) for a service that lasts 60 minutes, but the cost drops to 10,000 yen if he shares the worker with another customer.