Osaka Police Make Internet Cafes Do Away with Closed Private Rooms

Osaka Internet Cafe StallThe wooden door to this private room in an Internet cafe was replaced with a transparent one. Yodagawa-ku, Osaka. Photo by Naoya Masuda.

Osaka Police Make Internet Cafes Do Away with Closed Private Rooms
Yomiuri Shimbun: 大阪のネットカフェ、全店で個室の密室状態解消
January 6, 2012

According to an Osaka Police Department investigation, there are no longer any closed private rooms in the prefecture’s internet cafes.

The police strictly enforced the Entertainment Establishments Control Law in order to abolish such rooms, which they believe induce crime. They spearheaded the first campaign in the country to remove or make transparent the doors to private rooms in such establishments; the effort also succeeded in exposing illegal businesses. However, regulatory standards are different from prefecture to prefecture, and cafe owners are complaining that they’ve lost customers and business because of the policy.

“I feel uncomfortable here because I’m always thinking that someone might be watching me from behind. I can’t watch the movies I want to watch anymore, so I come here less than half as much as I used to,” complained a 20-something male customer at an Internet cafe in Yodogawa-ku (Osaka City). This store replaced the wooden doors to its private rooms with acrylic, transparent ones last June on orders from the Osaka Police Department. Now the contents of each computer screen can be clearly seen from the hallway. This cafe is part of a franchise of about 30 stores, and the parent company made the same changes at each establishment. As a result of these changes, revenue for most cafes was 20-25% lower during the August to October period than it was during the same quarter the year before.

Original/原稿:

大阪のネットカフェ、全店で個室の密室状態解消

透明な扉に付け替えられ、個室内の様子が見えるようになったネットカフェ(大阪市淀川区で)=枡田直也撮影 大阪府内のインターネットカフェ全店で個室の密室状態が解消されたことが、府警の調査でわかった。

 犯罪を誘発するとして、府警が風俗営業法を厳格に適用。全国に先駆けて扉の透明化や撤去などを指導し、違反店舗摘発にも乗り出したことが功を奏した。ただ指導基準は各府県で異なり、客や売り上げが減った業者からは戸惑いの声も漏れる。

 「後ろから誰かに見られると思うと落ち着かず、見たい動画も見られない。ここに来るのは以前の半分以下になった」。大阪市淀川区のネットカフェで、20歳代の男性客がぼやいた。同店は昨年6月、大阪府警の指導で個室の扉を木製から透明のアクリル板に変更。その結果、通路から室内のパソコン画面がはっきり見通せるようになったからだ。府内でこの店など約30店を展開する運営会社は、全店で同様の改装を実施。その結果、同8~10月の売り上げは、大半の店で前年比20~5%減ったという。

(2012年1月6日23時09分 読売新聞)

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