Japan’s exclusion of grownup leisure employees from public help has been deemed discriminatory

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The No. 5 Central Government Building in the Kasumigaseki District of Tokyo, which houses the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs. (Mainichi / Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO – The Department of Health, Labor and Social Welfare has banned those who work in the adult entertainment industry from its vacation compensation program for those taking time off to see their children because of the nationwide school closings in response to the new coronavirus supervise. A move that has sparked criticism of occupational discrimination.

The Department of Labor has said it has classified the type of industry – which includes nightclubs and other establishments that include entertainment and sex work – as “unworthy of public funding.”

But on Twitter and elsewhere, people have protested, saying that “withholding support for people doing a certain type of job when it is a matter of life or death is discrimination”.

The department’s program rewards companies up to 8,330 yen per person per day for employees who take paid leave to care for their children, attend daycare and elementary or special schools. Freelancers who meet certain criteria are also entitled to 4,100 yen per person per day if they have to take time off from work to care for their children due to school closings.

According to the ministry, those in the entertainment, dining and sex industries, as well as members and organized crime organizations who have carried out or may be engaged in terrorist and destructive activities, are not eligible for public assistance.

People have reached out on Twitter and other platforms to criticize the ministry’s policies, with comments like “This is utter discrimination” and “There are many single mothers who work in the adult entertainment and sex industry for a living to earn.” need support. ”

SWASH, an organization made up of people who work in the sex industry and its supporters, filed an application with the Department of Labor on April 2 asking them to reconsider the criteria for receiving support. “The right of all parents and children to life should be.” protected, “and that” discrimination against people who work in the sex industry is encouraged by the fact that (people in the sex industry are no longer eligible) “.

A Labor Department official said: “Not only with this particular aid program, but with all subsidy programs related to employment, people in these occupations are ineligible. We have determined that it would be inappropriate to use public funds to subsidize entrepreneurs themselves, who did this. ” obtained legal permission under the Amusement Business Control and Improvement Act, etc. ”

In Tokyo, where the novel coronavirus has spread, Governor Yuriko Koike said: “There are many cases of speculation that people in night-time facilities may have contracted the virus,” and urged patrons not to go there go such facilities. At the same time, she said that it would ask the central government to provide assistance to operators and employees of facilities affected by the application and that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government would also consider its own measures.

The union for part-time workers, manual workers, freeters and foreign workers, of which the Cabakura union – for those in the adult entertainment and sex industry – is a member, issued a statement seeking compensation from the government: “In particular in the The service industry and night time jobs are getting worse for business. Without compensation or benefits, we can only wait for our lives to collapse. ”

At a press conference on April 3, Labor Minister Katsunobu Kato suggested not reviewing the current regime.

(Japanese original by Satoko Nakagawa, Integrated Digital News Center)