Japanese court endorses adultery for business purposes

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​Controversy over ruling that seven-year sexual relationship between company president and hostess club proprietor did not constitute extramarital affair

A court in Japan has shocked the country’s legal sector by concluding that a seven-year sexual relationship between a company president and the owner of a Tokyo hostess club did not constitute an extramarital affair.
In a ruling that could have profound consequences for future lawsuits aimed at adulterous men and their lovers, the Tokyo district court dismissed a compensation claim by the man’s wife, saying that his relationship was a purely commercial arrangement that had not harmed their marriage.
Some experts said the ruling effectively endorsed adultery, as long as the third party – in this case the hostess – was motivated by financial gain.
The judge, Masamitsu Shiseki, said the hostess had slept with the customer only to secure his continued patronage of the club she runs in the capital’s Ginza shopping and entertainment district.
High-class hostess clubs charge customers large sums to spend time drinking, chatting and singing karaoke in the company of female staff, but they do not offer sexual services.
Shiseki said the hostess’s actions were more akin to prostitution than an affair, and dismissed the wife’s ¥4m (£20,860) claim for emotional distress.
Details of the 2014 ruling have only just been made public in a Japanese legal journal after the plaintiff decided not to appeal, saying she did not want to be reminded of her husband’s behaviour.
Shiseki said it was common knowledge that hostesses slept with customers, to whom they have no emotional attachment, to retain their patronage.
“The defendant had sexual relations with her patron only for business, like in cases of prostitution,” the Asahi Shimbun quoted him as saying in his ruling. “Even if the wife is disgusted by the act, it does not constitute a legal offence.”
The only difference between prostitution and sleeping with customerswas that in the former, he said, payment was made directly.
Instead, he referred to the case as makura eigyo, which translates as “pillow sales” and usually refers to hostesses who enter into a sexual relationship with customers to ensure they continue to visit.
That kind of relationship was not illegal and “not something that will damage the tranquility of a marriage”, the judge said.
The hostess, who along with the husband and wife is not named, denied having sex with the man.
The wife’s lawyer, Katsuyuki Aoshima, said the ruling could harm future legal actions against suspected adulterers. “Citizens should discuss whether compensation should be made by a hostess having a sexual relationship with a married man,” the Japan Times quoted him as saying. “A judgment like this case shouldn’t be set as a new standard without clear and logical reasoning.”
Other legal experts rounded on the ruling, saying it deviated dramatically from precedents that require defendants to pay compensation to a wronged spouse if they were aware that their lover was married at the time of the affair.
“The ruling is not in line with past court decisions on cases involving an extramarital affair, and appears to greatly deviate from socially accepted norms,” Hayato Tamura, a divorce lawyer, told the Asahi Shimbun.
Kaoru Inoue, a former judge, told the Shukan Bunshun magazine that since the wife did not appeal, “there is a possibility that this might affect future trials involving relationships between men and women”.
The ruling was greeted with dismay by private investigators, who derive much of their income from gathering evidence of adultery on behalf of suspicious spouses.
“If the ruling makes it difficult to demand compensation from hostesses, many clients will stop seeking our assistance to prove their claims,” Fumiyoshi Hashimoto told the Asahi Shimbun. “It can reduce our business opportunities.”

Source: thegurdian

  • Jennifer

    The law turn upside down