When Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN’s special rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, told the media that Japan should "ban sexually abusive images of children in manga" at the end of her visit in October, you might think the manga industry would be the ones to get all hot under the collar. Actually, the strongest reaction seems to have come from the Japanese government itself. It was another comment Maud de Boer-Buquicchio made that has stoked up trouble. She drew on unknown statistics to claim that "Some 13% of schoolgirls in Japan are ...

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As widely reported in the media, the police have begun a new campaign cracking down on so-called "walking dates" in Akihabara in Tokyo. On Monday night, a dragnet of 100 police officers raided the famed electronics shopping and otaku subculture district in search of girls of schoolgirl age standing on the streets. Apparently ten girls under 18 were taken into "protective custody". Their crime? Wearing a school uniform on the streets of Akihabara. Recent concerns about walking dates recall the media frenzy on enjo kosai in the 1990's, though this is supposed to be the first major ...

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We've all seen them: cute, aimless-looking young girls hanging around Shinjuku, Shibuya or other big city areas. They often have lots of bags. They don't really look homeless but they certainly look a bit vulnerable. Okay, mystery solved! They're "kamimachi girls" (神待ちガール), which literally translates as "god-waiting girls". Wow, that sounds religious! No fear, the truth is much more interesting. After leaving home in a hurry these lasses find their ways to the big cities with no job, no home and no cash. What are they gonna do? Well, a lot of them sleep in internet cafes and ...

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