Monday, March 13, 2006

Buddhist Monk Arrested for Paid Sex With Teenage Girl

Reuters reports that a 73-year-old Japanese monk, Itsushi Ehara of the Hiroshima prefecture and head of a nursery school, was arrested Friday for paying a 15-year-old girl 80,000 yen ($675US) to have sex with him in a downtown Tokyo hotel.

"I could not resist my lust. A lot of stress built up from running the school," Ehara was quoted by Kyodo news agency as telling police.

The monk allegedly met the girl through a prostitution dispatch service, and is suspected of paying a number of other teenage girls for sex over a 2-3 year period.

Japan, home of the "schoolgirl's used panty vending machines" has long held a lax attitude towards the sexual exploitation of minors. They even have a term for older men's fascination with schoolgirls: "bura-sera" or roughly translated "sailor panties" referring to the sailoresque school uniforms worn by schoolgirls.

In Japan, teenage prostitution is loosely refered to as "compenstated dating" or "enjo-kosai" and was only recently outlawed in 1999, although it still goes on throughout the country. It was the only developed country put on the Tier 2 Watch List by the U.S. State Department in 2004 for its inaction towards combating trafficking in persons.

To learn more about what Japan is only recently doing to combat sex-trafficking and underage prostitution in their country, see the Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons.

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