Left in The Dark: Lack of support for sex workers during the pandemic pushes some to the brink

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Kabukicho red gate and colorful neon street signs at night, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. Photo by: Basile Morin

The media has covered the struggles of Japanese restaurants, bars and other service industries since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, but what about sex workers? Thousands of women in Japan who work in call-out services called “delivery health,” charging men for erotic encounters in hotels or homes, find their work has disappeared. The…

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About the author

Chie Matsumoto is a journalist and an adjunct media instructor in the Faculty of Law at Hosei University. She was previously one of the editors at Rodo Joho (Labor Notes) and a Tokyo correspondent at German Press Agency, dpa, as well as a reporter for the International Herald Tribune/The Asahi Shimbun. Matsumoto also worked as a research assistant in the Media and Journalism Studies at Tokyo University. Her works appear in books, Gender Hyogen Gaido Bukku (Gender Expression Guidebook) (Shogakukan Publishing, 2022) and Masukomi・Sekuhara Hakusho (State of Sexual Harassment in Media) (Bungei Shunju Publishing, 2020) among others, and in translations of The Purpose of Power (co-translator, Akashi Publishing, 2020) and others.

David McNeill (PhD) is a professor at the Department of English Language, Communication and Cultures at Sacred Heart University in Tokyo. He was previously a correspondent for The Independent and The Economist newspapers and for The Chronicle of Higher Education and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times and other international publications. He is co-author of the book Strong in the Rain (with Lucy Birmingham) about the 2011 Tohoku disaster. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal editor and a long-term member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

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