Tokyo Dims Red Light in Olympic Bid

Officials aim to keep 'local color' in crackdown
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 1:01 PM CST
Tokyo's red light district is facing tough law enforcement.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Japan’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics has prompted a cleanup of Tokyo’s red light district, but local proprietors aren’t eager to change local culture, the Guardian reports. Police, backed by a governor hoping to snuff out sleaze, are getting tough about a new law forcing sex clubs to shut at midnight. The rule is taking a toll on district business, residents say.

“The police crackdown has halved the number of customers here, and the recession isn't helping,” says a doorman. “I've been in Kabukicho a long time and I'd hate to see it change. This is where people come to make something of themselves.” But “we don't necessarily want to get rid of all of the local color,” says the head of the cleanup project. “We want to preserve the character of the place and strike a balance.”