Police arrest Chinese prostitutes for marriage fraud

Police have arrested six people with Chinese nationality on suspicion of registering a fake marriage and births.

The arrested included a 35-year-old woman who ran a sex service and lived in Matsusaka, Mie. Whereas such cases in the big cities typically involve younger people, perhaps it is a reflection of the aging demographic that even alleged prostitution in the countryside tends to be older, like the patrons: one of the arrested was 60 years old!

According to police, the 35-year-old business owner wanted to secure a visa for the 60-year-old woman, so registered a fake marriage with a 67-year-old Japanese man. The owner is also accused of submitting a false birth registration so that her younger sister’s children could receive Japanese citizenship in November 2021.

At least for now, none of the arrested are officially accused of breaking the law regarding sex services, such as providing penetrative sex for money, or of human trafficking.

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The perhaps reveals that police priorities lie with more bureaucratic crimes or that it is accepted (and acceptable) that prostitution in Japan is a cosmopolitan affair — or that the police are trying to break up a prostitution ring by nabbing the leaders with whatever they can pin on them.

The six were initially arrested in February on suspicion of immigration law violations.

We spotted a similar case involving a Japanese woman and her older Chinese husband, who were arrested in late March for violating immigration laws by prostituting female Chinese workers at a massage parlor in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

In our experience, the most genuinely multilingual place in Tokyo was not a tourist center — though with the influx of foreign tourists and non-Japanese workers at restaurants recently, they sometimes feel very international — but the area of the Shinjuku ward office where marriages are registered.

The walls defiantly displayed information in countless marriages, reminding people waiting for their number to be called that registering a fake marriage was a crime. With the ward office a stone’s throw from Kabukicho and Okubo, the largest red-light district in the city (despite authorities’ attempts to gentrify the main strip), it is easy to see why such signage is needed: gangsters and pimps will bring along their sex workers, register them as married on paper to make it simpler to get a visa, and then continue exploiting them.

A lot of the cheaper sex workers in Japan are Chinese or another nationality, including massage parlors or street walkers. It is relatively rare to see sex workers openly touting for business on the streets due to the risk of arrest, though you can encounter Chinese prostitutes doing this in central areas like Shibuya.

It is one of the reasons for the media panic about the recent spike in the numbers of young Japanese women gathering near Okubo Park, waiting for men to pick them up.

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1 Comment

  • Mike Travels April 5, 2024

    how did they catch them? did they tell on themselves like everyone else does in Japan?

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