U.S. State Department says "JK business" is human trafficking

"Japan is notorious for human-trafficking.” This would be the perception of Americans after reading “Trafficking in Persons Report June 2016” issued by the US Department of State. It seems this report is taken seriously, although most Japanese don’t know about it and the media here shrug it off as nonsense. We need to do some fact checking here.

The report labels Japan as a country that doesn’t meet the minimum standards for eradicating human trafficking, ranking it as “Tier 2” right alongside with countries like Nigeria and Bangladesh. Japan is the only country among G7 member states in this ranking. Countries with “Tier 3” rating are subject to limitations on development aid programs.

Human trafficking through confinement and coercion are forbidden under Japanese law, and enforced by the police. The Japanese government do not condone such offense in any way. However, there are a few NPOs who “sell” these stories to the U.S. Although fallacious like the so-called “forced porn appearance” scandal, they seem to gain undeserved credibility. Such being the case, Japan has been rated “Tier 2” for more than ten years.

Let’s take a look at how the U.S. views this issue from their Embassy’s website.

Japanese citizens, particularly runaway teenage girls, children of foreign and Japanese citizens who have acquired citizenship, and their foreign mothers, are also subjected to sex trafficking.  The phenomenon of enjo kosai, also known as “compensated dating,” and variants of the “JK business” (JK stands for joshi-kosei, or high school girl) continue to facilitate the sex trafficking of Japanese children.

To a Japanese, classifying compensated dating and JK business under “human trafficking” is a bad joke at best. However, to Americans who believe in the comfort women issue, it seems such accusations resonate well with their bias that the “Japanese are sex animals.” However, the report fails to state facts, except only for the following statistical data.

The government reported  investigating 44 cases for crimes related to human trafficking in 2015, compared with 32 in 2014. It initiated prosecution of 17 cases in 2015, most of which had direct or indirect links to sex trafficking and involved a total of 26 suspected traffickers. The government convicted 27 traffickers, six of whose prosecutions began in 2014, compared with 18 convicted in 2014. Nine of the 27 convicted traffickers received only fines.
After the incident involving the UN on the false report that “13% of high-school girls experienced compensated dating,” the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started to keep a close eye on so-called “Special Reporters to the UN.” The US Department of State's aforementioned report still remains to be the source for fostering distorted views among other countries towards Japan. The Japanese government should demand for an explanation from the U.S. as to why Japan is rated “Tier 2” with only 27 known incidents.

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