[UPDATED, Dec 6]
A sugar dating website from Japan that aims to match young women in Singapore with well-heeled men has launched its service here.
Calling itself a "luxury dating club", Universe Club operates 14 branches across Japan, with more than 7,000 women in its database and about 3,000 registered male members.
It started operations in Singapore a month ago, said spokesperson Ishida Katutaka, with 60 women and 10 men registered in its database currently.
Sugar dating refers to a money-for-love arrangement, where young women usually known as "sugar babies" date (usually) much older men — "sugar daddies" — in return for cash or material comforts.
A scan of Universe Club's Singapore memberships page on Thursday (Dec 5) showed brief profiles of 37 women accompanied by full-body photos, sans faces.
One description of a profile titled "The serious and focused lady" reads: "A model looking for opportunities for her career. In search also to widen her network."
Another photo of a woman in a more revealing pose has the caption: "Loves to be with any sugar daddy that will be able to support her in any way. A sophisticated sugar baby."
Several of such sugar dating sites have popped up in Singapore in the last few years, the most recent being Malaysia-based dating platform, Sugarbook, which launched in 2017.
Other sites which operate from the US also permit those residing in Singapore to sign up.
According to Universe Club's website, the company promotes a "safe Sugar Dating experience" for members. Men are screened to determine their wealth and to ensure they have a clean appearance, personality, and that they are respectful towards women.
For the ladies, they are interviewed as well to see if they have a "high-level personality". Women will also be able to choose their "dating type" based on their level of comfort — they can indicate whether they prefer to meet "just for meals" or if they "don't have any problem with an intimate relationship".
The women will also get $100 from the man on their first date, "even if they just have dinner together" and "regardless of where he takes her to dine".
One thing that members are not screened for, though, is their marital status.
The site states that while "this club does not recommend affairs", "details of the relationship are left to the two parties to decide".
Interestingly however, we noticed that copy on the site makes at least two references to "mistresses".
In a reply to AsiaOne on Thursday (Dec 6), Katutaka said the term is used in reference to "sugar dating, dating with compensation", reiterating that they "do not encourage affairs". However, Katutaka shared that there are members in the club who are married.
In 2013, the then-Media Development Authority (MDA) banned extra-marital dating website Ashley Madison, deeming its content objectionable.
The emergence of platforms that market sugar dating has sparked concern among lawmakers, who raised the issue in February last year.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee told Parliament then that the police will closely monitor such dating platforms. He added that if money was exchanged for sexual services among users, police could take action against the website and its owners.