Japan changes its rules about nightclubs to allow dancing after midnight.


Since 1948, Japan has had one of the strangest laws on the books – the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Businesses. It was intended to curb prostitution but in recent years has been used to stop dancing in nightclubs, especially in Osaka. Insert “Footloose” joke here.

Oh, dancing is allowed, but the dance floor must be 710 ft² (66 m²) or bigger. There was a petition in 2012 with more than 200,000 signatures asking the Diet to repeal the law. Well, today, the cabinet approved one change to the law: It will not have the word “dance” in it.

From the Asahi Shimbun:

Revisions to the Adult Entertainment Business Regulation Law, which were approved by the Cabinet on Oct. 24, will no longer apply to dance halls or dance schools. It will also ease regulations on dance clubs, where customers can wine and dine.

If they meet interior illumination and other standards, dance clubs will be allowed to operate all night. Currently, they must shut their doors by 1 a.m. at the latest.

It gets stranger:

Clubs maintaining an illumination of more than 10 lux will be considered as an ordinary restaurant and allowed to operate around the clock, in principle.

Ten lux is about the same level of brightness as in a movie theater before a film is screened. Under that level of lighting, one can read a newspaper 30 centimeters away.

For you photographers out there, that’s about one foot-candle of light. Measuring lux is done with a meter and the cheapest ones go for around $100. Seems like an unnecessary expense.

This change doesn’t drop other parts of the law, which requires “businesses offering food and entertainment” before midnight to be authorized by the local prefecture’s public safety commission, but do not require “businesses selling alcohol after midnight” to do the same.

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