Japan lifts ban on dancing in clubs after midnight

Japan lifts ban on dancing in clubs after midnight
NO DANCING: Japan’s Parliament voted to relax a 1948 law that bans dancing in clubs after midnight.

Dancing after midnight in Tokyo will no longer be illegal - as long as it is not too dark - after Japan's Parliament yesterday voted to relax laws in one of the world's clubbing capitals.

Under the new law, which is expected to take effect by June next year, dancing after midnight will be allowed if the club has a light level of at least 10 lux.

A lux is a measurement of light over a given area and 10 lux is approximately equivalent to what a cinema looks like with the lights on, said Panasonic.

The police will be tasked with monitoring light levels in clubs, Jiji Press reported, and will be able to take action.

The new law also makes provision for clubs that do not serve alcohol after midnight to stay open for 24 hours.

Under current rules, dance clubs across the country are supposed to stop people from dancing once the clock ticks past midnight.

The law, which dates back to 1948, during the US Occupation, was put in place amid concerns that the relatively liberal social attitudes of the Americans were corrupting Japan's youth.

It was also an attempt to curb prostitution, which was rife in the poverty of post-World War II Japan.

The Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business was so wide-ranging that even some dance classes, including ballroom, fell foul of it because they involved people dancing in pairs, AFP reported.


Enforcement was considerably relaxed as Japan boomed in the decades starting from the 1960s up to the 80s, allowing clubs to thrive in the big cities.

But a police crackdown began after the 2010 death of a 22-year-old student during a fight in an Osaka club.

There was a wave of raids by police, who said they wanted to prevent an "excessively hedonistic atmosphere" at clubs, and most of the city's venues were shut down for licensing violations.

The ban on midnight dancing was criticised by the dance and music industry for hindering Japan's growing, vibrant dance culture.

Other critics lambasted the rules as out-of-date.

This article was first published on June 18, 2015.
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