Monday, June 17, 2013

Special Report: US troops are stationed in Japan to protect the nation. But to sex workers in Okinawa,  they bring fear, not security - Asia - World - The Independent

Business is slow in Okinawa’s biggest red-light district. Touts stand idle beneath neon signs advertising “soap-land” brothels, where prostitutes lather male clients for money. A handful of men loiter to peer at the photos of women pasted on billboards outside, though few appear willing to part with Y15,000 (£100) to spend an hour with one inside. Desperate as some of the businesses are, however, many still decline one type of customer: US military servicemen.

“Too much trouble,” explains one tout working the Tsuji-machi district of Naha, Okinawa’s capital. The soap-land businesses that do admit Americans tend to pair them with older, more experienced women. “They scare the younger girls,” says another tout. “Especially when they have had a few drinks.”

Okinawa has lived uneasily for decades with its huge American military presence. US bases occupy nearly 20 per cent of the crowded main island of Japan’s southernmost prefecture, as part of Tokyo’s half-century alliance with Washington. The US maintains 14 military installations on Okinawa housing roughly 25,000 men and women – the Marine Corps Northern Training Area alone occupies close to 40 square miles, and includes the world’s only jungle warfare training centre.

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Comment: I could be totally way off base here but, it looks as though this was written by one reporter who took his assignment very seriously. It's pretty obvious that he probed the matter deeply and for all it was worth. While it may be arguable that some of his presumptions may have come off as a bit premature, at least he wasn't afraid to go digging deep into the bushes to get is story. If they ever need someone to go deep under the covers to get a story, my guess is that this guy is their man!

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