Dancing after midnight in Japan – level 3
We may have all heard the song “Dancing in the Moonlight”, but for people in Japan that’s something they most definitely haven’t been able to do.
Since 1948 it’s been illegal to dance in bars and clubs in Japan after midnight.
The rather unusual law was introduced to stamp out prostitution linked to dance halls more than 60 years ago and over the years, despite the growing popularity of clubbing, the rule still stood.
But it looks like that’s all about to change, as Japan’s cabinet has now approved amendments to the country’s nightlife laws, allowing people to dance past midnight.
And the new law is certainly welcomed by campaigners.
“Visitors from overseas would come here to Japan and they’d wonder why they can’t dance, even though you can dance at night anywhere overseas. You have to ask why you can get arrested just for dancing. We thought that this was a problem, and so we had a large number of people give their signatures to remove dancing from the nightlife laws and stop regulating dancing.”
But the new law comes with restrictions: bars and clubs will have to obtain a permit if they want to allow dancing into the early hours, and they must adhere to new lighting requirements.
Lights in clubs must now be brighter than 10 lux or similar to a theatre before the main show starts. Officials say this is because they hope brighter lighting will help prevent crimes and misbehaviour.
So although Japanese clubbers may now be dancing in bright light rather than the moonlight, it seems the country is definitely getting its groove back.
Difficult words: illegal (you are not allowed to do it), stamp out (put an end to something), prostitution (when people have sex with other people for money), clubbing (going to clubs to dance), amendment (a small change in the laws), overseas (from another country), permit (paper that shows permission to do something), adhere (follow), get its groove back (to be able to dance well again).
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