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Licence to boogie: Japan moves to ease dancing ban

Published on Jun 23, 2014 5:57 PM
 
People enjoying a club event in Tokyo, on June 15, 2014. Japan's government is considering relaxing a law that forbids late-night dancing in public establishments, according to a draft of a bill reviewed by Reuters, potentially ending police raids that have shuttered nightclubs across the country. -- PHOTO: AFP 

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's government is considering relaxing a law that forbids late-night dancing in public establishments, according to a draft of a bill reviewed by Reuters, potentially ending police raids that have shuttered nightclubs across the country.

Dancing at public venues is technically illegal in Japan and is only permitted until midnight in clubs with a special licence, a vestige of a law on "businesses affecting public morals", which was passed in 1948 to stamp out prostitution linked to dance halls but over the years was all but forgotten.

The police renewed enforcement of the law four years ago, however, with a crackdown on bars and clubs after a student was killed in a brawl in Osaka, Japan's second-largest metropolitan area, and worries mounted about the country's youth culture against a backdrop of celebrity drug scandals.

Raids invoking the law spread to Tokyo and other cities, with police breaking up parties from techno clubs to salsa bars and arresting dozens on suspicion of gang connections or tax violations, while closing venues known for noise complaints.

 
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