ScreenHunter_22 Jun. 27 15.12

The Japanese government has passed a bill relaxing its decades old prohibition on dancing, but the new law may not be much better than the old one.

You may not have known it, but if you’ve ever been to a club after midnight in Japan, you may have been inadvertently breaking the law.

Dancing after 12:00 a.m. has been officially outlawed in Japan for almost 70 years, and while police typically turn the other cheek when it comes to this particular law – in the same vein that American authorities often ignore archaic laws still on the books about bingo games not being allowed to last more than five hours or whatnot – they’ve been known to occasionally conduct raids on clubs and other venues that allow dancing in certain areas of town, such as Roppongi (Japan’s most famous international district) and Shibuya (where underage crowds tend to hang out).

The infrequent raids led to clubs and drinking establishments all over Japan to, in the last few years, display mostly unenforced “No Dancing” signs in an attempt at mitigating their culpability if the authorities ever did decide to investigate.

But as of June 23 of this year, club-goers can now dance – mostly – without fear of police intervention due to the passing of a new bill that allows dance clubs to operate until 5 a.m., under the caveats that they do not serve alcohol and refrain from allowing minors from attending events that run past 10 p.m. Additionally, locations are required to keep lights on at 10 lux, which, according to other news sources, is about the same brightness as that of a movie theater just prior to the trailers running.

In all honesty, most club-goers in Japan aren’t going to be dancing sober, so the no alcohol rule under the new law could potentially put a major cramp in the plans of Japanese and foreign visitors hoping to dance the night away. In fact, some are concerned the new regulations may actually allow police to crack down even harder on clubs and bars due to the bill’s more specific rules, although even under the old laws, most clubs operated basically unimpeded until the wee hours of the morning. Dance schools, which were technically prohibited from operating late under the old rules, will be exempted, so those businesses may see the greatest benefit from the switch.

While the new law is far from a perfect solution with its new, more specific tenets, it most likely means that people will be able to twerk, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days, to their heart’s content in Japan.

Source: Matome Naver/Japan Times
Featured image: Sethviebrock@instagram