Venues will now be able to obtain late-night licenses, provided they meet certain criteria.
The 1948 rule, which classified venues allowing dancing as "adult entertainment establishments" and required them to close between midnight and sunrise, will be modified by new regulations permitting club owners to apply for permits to operate as Yukyo Inshokuten Eigyo (Nighttime Entertainment Restaurant Operations). The new class of establishments will be able to remain open for drinking and dancing all night.
As we reported last year, in order to qualify, nightspots will need to maintain lighting of at least 10 lux, about the brightness of a movie theater before the lights are dimmed. (The measurements will be taken in seated areas rather than on dance floors.) The Japan Times writes Yukyo Inshokuten Eigyo must be located outside of residential areas. "In Tokyo, for example," the newspaper says, "there will be 638 districts where the clubs can operate," with parts of Roppongi, Daikanyama, Aoyama and Nakameguro considered off-limits.
There is some speculation as to how the new rules, which stem from a campaign reacting to the 2012 Fueiho crackdown, will be carried out. Takahiro Saito, who is involved in the Fueiho reform movement Let's Dance, tells The Japan Times that many clubs lie outside of Yukyo Inshokuten Eigyo areas and that the activities constituting yukyo (entertainment) are somewhat unclear under the new regulations. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department told RA there have been 70 applications for Yukyo Inshokuten Eigyo in 14 prefectures as of last month.