JAPAN: No Need to Evacuate the Dance Floor

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – The Japanese can now officially dance the night away without a curfew. Since 1948, dancing at any time past midnight in Japan has been illegal.

But those who want to shake their groove things can now rejoice. The Japanese government is cutting back on the crazy “Footloose-esque” statute, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are to thank for it. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has the foresight to realize that with this huge event come hordes of tourists who don’t just travel for the sports.

Why did the land of the rising sun kill the vibe in the first place? In an attempt to curb prostitution linked to dance venues, anxiety over those darn “corrupted” youths fueled reports in the news that contributed to a crackdown on nightclubs and other late-night entertainment spots.

But it wasn’t until 2010, when a 22-year-old student was killed in a fight in Osaka, that the law was strictly enforced.

This law, called fueiho, not only damaged the booming electronic music industry but also caused many businesses to lose profits since they had to get rid of dance floors to avoid temptation.

Japan’s parliament has now altered the law in a way that will allow a new category of clubs to stay open all night as long as the lighting is brighter than 10 lux (the approximate level of light in a movie theater before a showing begins). This is in an attempt to reduce the possibility of criminal behavior that can occur in dimly lit places.

It’s good to know that citizens and tourists alike will be able to express themselves and communicate through the universal language of dance well into the wee hours of the morning. Let’s raise the roof!

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