Wednesday, March 23, 2005



By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper

There has been intense pressure put on the Japanese government by the Philippines to ease up on entertainers going to Japan to work. Since there is an estimated 80,000 already there, they are a strong source of foreign exchange and that is obviously why our government, severely strapped for funds, is pushing hard to exempt them from a tough new Japanese law that is set to come into effect over the next few months severely cutting down on entertainer visas issued. The 80,000 such visas issued annually could be slashed to 8,000 according to a report from Tokyo.

Our government’s insistence on the matter is shameful. It knows only too well, what is common knowledge among the populace, that the vast majority of "entertainers" end up working in the sex industry. Perhaps the Japanese got it right when they estimated that perhaps only 8,000 of the 80,000 entertainers given visas are actually talented enough to qualify as true, gifted artists. And even that number seems to be on the high side.

The only more shameful thing about this matter is the families of these women who go off to Japan to sell themselves in order to earn and send back money to their needy families left behind. I know of parents who are very much aware of what their daughters are doing in Japan but choose to turn a blind eye because of the income they are benefiting from and the improvement in their lifestyle. Even if all this is gotten at the expense of their daughters’ moral, spiritual and even bodily well being.

In a report from Tokyo in the International Herald Tribune, Norimitsu Onishi writes: "In Japan, the foreign women who are victims of trafficking end up working everywhere from Tokyo’s sprawling red-light districts to rural areas unfamiliar to most foreigners. They stand on street corners and sit behind glass windows; they serve as sex performers or hostesses at clubs outside of which they are expected to date customers… Starting in March, the government is expected to severely restrict the number of entertainer visas granted, a category that has allowed the entry of, and sometimes the trafficking in, women with dubious skills as entertainers… Victims are said to number in the thousands, with the three largest sources being Thailand, Colombia, and the Philippines."

Our government should not be part of this scandal. There is no way that the authorities do not know what’s really happening. It is shameful that it insists on peddling our women for financial gain for foreign exchange. It is bad enough that our women feel the need to go abroad to earn because our country is so impoverished.

Perhaps the biggest insult comes from a very interested Japanese source. "But Joji Imai," writes Onishi, "president of the Association of Japanese Promoters Recruiting Foreign Entertainers, said the cases of prostitution were isolated. ‘Many of the customers who like to patronize clubs with foreign entertainers are interested in learning foreign languages or discovering foreign culture,’ Imai said. ‘They enjoy different cultures, such as Filipinos’ cheerfulness.’"

And Koki Kobayashi, a lawmaker, is even more insulting. He said "the visas allowed Filipinos to earn good wages and support their families back home. ‘It is Japanese economic aid,’ he said."

These comments would be funny and a joke if they were not so tragic. The Japanese must take us for fools or so depraved that our government would actually encourage such a situation.


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April 30, 2006 at 6:01 PM  

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