Sunday, August 09, 2009

True or false?

The Globe and Mail reports on what is says are green shoots in Japan's red-light districts. That's according a report, Recent Trends and Changes to a Pleasure District, commissioned by the Bank of Japan. From the Globe and Mail:
“The number of brothels has increased. There's no question about that,” Tadao Yonezawa, an official at the Susukino Tourist Association, told Bloomberg. “It must be because people want those services. Where there's demand, you get supply.”
True or false? The increase in the number of brothels is due to demand. False. The mere existence of demand would not account for an increase in quantity.

True or false? The increase in the number of brothels is due to an increase in demand. Likely, false. There is nothing in the article that would account for an increase in demand.

What we are told:
[S]hoppers have been heading to newer stores in other areas, and the number of bars and restaurants in the district has fallen rapidly. Many of the survivors have been paying reduced rents and discounting meal prices to keep their doors open.
The services sector in general is the main source of new jobs for women, many of whom in Japan have been finding it increasingly difficult to obtain work, particularly since the economy slipped into its latest nosedive last fall. Young people have drifted into jobs once scorned in Japanese culture.

These include working as bar hostesses and waiting on tables in so-called maid cafes, where female servers wear aprons over their miniskirts and address male customers as “master.”

This marks a generational shift, said Keiko Miyamatsu-Saunders, a Toronto-based Japanese author on cultural subjects. “For a person of my generation to become a hostess in a bar was out of the question. And I consider myself very open-minded.”

These facts suggest lower costs of operating a brothel due to lower rents, and lower wages. These would increase in the supply and account for the increase in the number of brothels.

Thanks to John Palmer for the pointer.


Anonymous Chris D (in Japan) said...

Interesting post, thanks. I think historically the demand for prostitution increases during recessionary periods, for want of escapism, etc. Also, the supply increases, not only to meet demand but due to the lack of other service sector jobs for women. I would expect this is the case in Japan as elsewhere.

9:37 AM  

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