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Cablegate: A Review of Japan's Anti-Tip Policy: Progress And

DE RUEHKO #6538/01 3190656
P 150656Z NOV 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

TOKYO 00006538 001.2 OF 005

1. (U) This cable contains an action request. Please see
paragraph 18.

2. (U) Summary and Comment: Increased vigilance by police
and immigration officers as well as new legislation has
brought positive change to the trafficking-in-persons (TIP)
situation in Japan. These measures have forced traffickers
to change their business model and move deeper underground,
according to Japanese officials, police, immigration
officers, and NGOs consulted during G/TIP Senior
Coordinator Mark B. Taylor's October 10-11 visit to Tokyo
and a Political Officer's trip to Osaka in September.
Government-provided shelters are a step in the right
direction, but they need better resources and direction.
Prosecution remains a problem area for Japan. Embassy
recommendations for further action/follow-up are outlined
in paragraph 18. End Summary and Comment.

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Japan is Taking Significant Steps to Prevent Trafficking
--------------------------------------------- -----------
3. (U) Changes in visa requirements have significantly
reduced the number of women entering Japan as
"entertainers," MOFA Consular Affairs Bureau contacts told
us. Over the last 18 months the government of Japan has
made several changes to the criteria for entertainer visas,
requiring applicants to prove that they have two years of
experience in the industry, obligating sponsoring
organizations to pay a higher salary, and placing a heavier
burden on Japanese clubs to prove their legitimacy. As a
result, the number of Filipinas entering Japan as
entertainers has fallen from 7,000 per month in 2004 to
only 1,000 per month this year, according to statistics
provided by the Consular Affairs Bureau.

4. (U) To raise awareness about human trafficking inside
Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National
Police Agency have produced tens of thousands of glossy
brochures and pamphlets in the past year that describe the
trauma of trafficking-in-persons, report what the
government is doing to combat trafficking, and explain how
a victim can find assistance. These materials have been
distributed to immigration offices and police stations
throughout Japan, according to MOFA Human Rights Division
officials. This program seems to have been successful in
raising the awareness of working level police and
immigration officers; Japan Network Against Trafficking In
Persons (JNATIP) representatives say that the increased
knowledge of trafficking among law enforcement officials
has been one of the most visible improvements in the last
two years.

5. (U) Japan has also expanded efforts to protect victims
of trafficking. In addition to allocating funds to
subsidize private shelters, the Ministry of Health, Labour,
and Welfare (MHLW) has been pushing police and immigration
officers to use its pre-existing network of shelters for
domestic violence victims as temporary housing for foreign
trafficking victims awaiting repatriation. Women
identified by immigration authorities as victims who have
overstayed their visas are now eligible for a special
status that allows them to leave the country legally. The
government now pays for victims' medical care and
subsidizes repatriation via a grant to the International
Office of Migration (IOM). The MHLW reported that last
year, 112 women were protected in private and public
shelters, and IOM representatives told us that they helped
50 women return home with the government's support.

6. (SBU) In addition, during an October 11 inter-agency
meeting set up for G/TIP Senior Coordinator for Reports
Mark Taylor, MOFA officials told us that Japan has held
bilateral meetings with 11 source countries including the
Philippines (2004), Indonesia (2006), and Thailand (2006).
As part of the Japan-Thailand Joint Task Force on Counter
TIP, a Japanese Immigration Officer has been in Bangkok for
the past year training Thai officials to recognize
fraudulent Japanese documents. According to Japanese
Consular officials, few Thais enter Japan on entertainer
visas; most victims have entered the country using

TOKYO 00006538 002.2 OF 005

fraudulent documents. Reports from private shelter
operators that the number of Thai women working in brothels
and clubs in Japan appears to have decreased significantly
in the past year support the Japanese government's claim
that the Bangkok Immigration Officer training program is
helping to keep Thai women out of the sex trade.

Measures Forcing Traffickers to Change their Business Model
--------------------------------------------- --------------
7. (SBU) In Osaka and Tokyo, the number of establishments
selling sex with women under coercive conditions has
fallen, according to several contacts that conduct research
on sex trafficking in the cities' red light districts.
Police are taking advantage of the new Law on Control and
Improvement of Amusement Businesses to shut down egregious
violators in large numbers. Restrictions on advertising
are also being enforced, compelling consultants in the "Sex
Service Information Centers" that replaced many of the
brothels to remove the posters from their interior and
exterior walls and wait for clients inside instead of
hawking their service on the corners. A photojournalist
who published a book about Kabukicho, Tokyo's most famous
red-light district, told us that this crackdown has
noticeably reduced the seedy appearance of the

8. (SBU) Fewer trafficking victims are escaping to private
or public shelters this year, according to shelter
directors. We asked about this in every meeting, and our
contacts cited a variety of positive and negative trends in
the sex industry to explain this change. On one hand, the
situation in some sex shops has improved, especially in
urban centers. Restrictions on visas have made workers
more valuable and their escape more costly, forcing some
brothel owners to provide better working conditions and
salary. The influx of women holding spouse visas who tend
to be familiar with Japan, as well as know their rights and
some Japanese language, has also put upward pressure on
hostess-club salaries and conditions. As the demand for
foreign wives in rural Japan increases, brokers are taking
advantage of this widening immigration channel to traffic
women into Japan, according to Japanese Consular Officials
and shelter operators.

9. (SBU) Absent stricter punishment for brokers and club
owners, however, the economics of hard-core exploitative
trafficking have not changed. To maintain the
astronomically high profits of trafficking women for sex,
many brokers have shifted into "Delivery Health" services,
a representative from an NGO specializing in migrant labor
explained. One advantage of this model for the traffickers
is that a "bodyguard" accompanies the victim to and from
the call, eliminating any opportunity for escape.
Representatives from JNATIP say that the conditions in
rural areas are as bad as ever, far away from NGO scrutiny
or central government law enforcement activity. A former
police reporter and TIP researcher agreed with JNATIP's
assertion, saying that entrance to the clubs with the worst
working conditions has become more restrictive, usually by
membership or referral only.

10. (SBU) Brokers are also using more coercive
psychological methods to control women, minimizing the
numbers who attempt to flee, sources explained. Globalized
communication means that victims must fear retaliation
against their families more than ever, the migrant labor
NGO worker said. TIP activists who work with victims also
report that many clubs wait three months before requiring
the women to engage in sex. Because they don't receive
their wages until the end of the six-month stay, most women
choose to "stick-it-out" and prostitute themselves rather
than lose three months of investment. Even in hostess
clubs that do not provide sexual services, punishing women
who do not meet quotas psychologically compels them to
sleep with clients in order to persuade them to become
regular customers, said the director of a half-way house
for former Filipina hostesses.

11. (SBU) Police misconceptions about the definition of

TOKYO 00006538 003.4 OF 005

"victim" are still evident in many areas, sources related.
Women found working in clubs and sex shops during police
raids are still often treated as illegal aliens by
default. Social workers running a shelter for victims in
Kanagawa say that the police often adopt a negative
attitude towards women who say they want to stay and work
in Japan, deporting them as illegals, even though they were
freed from obviously coercive conditions. According to the
shelter representatives, a woman must say she wants to go
back to her country immediately in order to be classified
as a victim and receive special-stay status.

12. (SBU) The fact that the sex industry has become less
visible also makes it harder to measure the extent of
trafficking and harder to investigate it. Embassy contacts
in the Osaka Office of the National Police Agency report
that the police do not like to investigate human
trafficking cases; it takes too many officer-hours to close
a case and is not career enhancing. In addition,
restrictions on long-term undercover work and the
nonexistence of plea-bargaining in Japan impose limitations
on the ability of police to investigate TIP cases. NGO
representatives agree that although the decreasing
visibility of Japan's trafficking problem is a sign of
progress, it makes the road ahead even more difficult.

Despite Good Intentions, Some Backsliding on Protection
--------------------------------------------- ----------
13. (SBU) As part of its 2004 action plan to fight human
trafficking, Japan designated its prefectural Women's
Consulting Centers (WCC) as shelters for victims of
trafficking. Originally only used as shelters for victims
of domestic violence, we could see in a visit to the
Kanagawa shelter with G/TIP Mark Taylor that shelters
currently lack the resources they need to provide adequate
services to TIP victims. While private shelters usually
have full-time staff able to speak seven or more languages,
the WCCs must rely on interpretation services from outside
providers. Even the Kanagawa WCC, referred to by NGOs as
the "Cadillac of WCCs," had full-time ability to provide
counseling only in Japanese. Without counseling in their
native language by professionals familiar with the special
needs of trafficking victims, the foreign women staying at
WCCs elect to repatriate as quickly as possible. Private
shelter representatives say they are worried that the WCCs
are just repatriation centers, and not providers of
protection or rehabilitation.

14. (U) The Japanese government earmarked USD 100,000 in
April 2005 for subsidizing victims' stays in private NGO
shelters that specialize in assisting victims of human
trafficking. According to MOFA contacts, of the total 112
victims protected in all shelters, 52 were protected using
this fund in fiscal year 2005. However, this year no
victims have been referred to private shelters. Victims
will only be sent to private shelters in the case of WCC
overflow, the director of the MHLW's office responsible for
WCCs told Embassy and G/TIP officers October 11.

15. (U) Critics of Japan's protection policies also
complain that financial realities preclude any alternative
to repatriation. Although Japan has a law to distribute
seized assets to victims of crime, TIP victims are not
eligible for this compensation, according to JNATIP
lawyers. Victims of trafficking are also ineligible for
social welfare and are not authorized to work, forcing them
to return to their country of origin, whether voluntarily
via the special stay permit or by deportation. Although
Japan has made grants to organizations assisting
repatriated victims of human trafficking in their home
countries, there isn't any systematic assistance provided
to victims who return home, where they face discrimination
and further psychological trauma.

Prosecution not Sufficient to be a Deterrent
16. (U) A suspended sentence remains the most common
punishment meted out by Japanese prosecutors for those
convicted of TIP-related crimes. In 2005, only six out of

TOKYO 00006538 004.4 OF 005

75 convictions resulted in incarceration with an average
two-year sentence, according to Ministry of Justice
statistics. All but one of the six offenders who were
imprisoned were foreigners. Police, government officials,
and NGO representatives all agree that Japanese organized
crime syndicates (the Yakuza) are the controlling investors
in the sex industry, but so far only one Yakuza member has
been prosecuted. Ministry of Justice officials say that it
is "difficult to tell the level of involvement" of the
owners of bars and clubs selling the sexual services of
trafficking victims. The reality is that without a program
to encourage victim testimony, long-term undercover work by
the police, or the ability to plea bargain, it is extremely
difficult to build a case, a National Police Agency
official explained. In addition, an entrenched reluctance
to move against the sex establishments persists, according
to a JNATIP lawyer, noting that although buying sexual
services is illegal in Japan, clients are never arrested
and the establishments are permitted to operate relatively

Comment and Action Request
17. (U) Japan is clearly making progress in preventing TIP
activities, as demonstrated by the gradual shut down of sex
shops throughout the country and the marked decline in the
number of women entering the country on entertainer visas.
The picture on protection of victims and prosecution of
perpetrators, however, is not as positive. Women's
Consulting Centers need more resources, especially
interpretation services, in order to be effective as
shelters for foreign trafficking victims. Some activists
have also suggested that the Centers also serve as
reception centers for private shelters that specialize in
TIP victims. Separately, Japanese prosecutors are lagging
behind the rest of the government in taking significant
measures to address the crime of human trafficking.

18. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Embassy Tokyo requests that the
Department provide a non-binding roadmap to Tier 1
classification under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act
for presentation to Japanese officials. Following are the
Embassy's suggestions for inclusion in the roadmap.

a. Increase prosecutions using the new trafficking law.
Increase the percentage of convictions that result in
incarceration. Use longer sentences according to the
guidelines of the new trafficking law.

b. Increase the availability of native language counseling
to victims.

c. Provide compensation from seized criminal assets and/or
public welfare assistance to victims. Encourage victims to
file suits against their former employers and/or
participate in prosecutions.

d. Fully utilize earmark for sheltering victims in private

e. Create a program to verify employment and exit of
Filipina nurses and caregivers coming to Japan under the
new Free Trade Agreement.

f. Create one centralized, nation-wide hotline for
victims, available in multiple languages.

g. Sponsor police and prosecutors to travel to the United
States for liaison/training in the Voluntary Visitor

h. Organize broad prosecutor participation in a digital
videoconference with Department of Justice prosecutors.

i. Create special anti-trafficking units within the
National Police Agency.

j. Distribute awareness-raising materials more widely,
including posting in commercial/nongovernmental locations.

TOKYO 00006538 005.4 OF 005


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