Consenting adults generally go to love hotels for the express purpose of getting naked, but how much privacy do they really have?

We recently sat down for a chat with Mr. S, a five-year veteran of Japan’s love hotel industry. While he’d still like his identity protected, Mr. S is no longer a worker for the unique class of lodgings that provide amorous couples with rooms priced by the hour, and so he’s willing to give us an inside look at what it’s like to operate Japan’s amorous inns.

Last time, we talked with Mr. S about love hotels’ attitude towards gay male couples, and today we’ve got the next part of our discussion, in which we asked about whether love hotel guests really have as much privacy as they think they do inside their rooms.

RocketNews24: Are there actually cameras hidden in the rooms at love hotels?

Mr. S: From my experience, I’d say absolutely no, with 99.99-percent certainty. The management hiding secret cameras in the room is something that’s just not done.

Of course, there are cameras at some places within the hotel itself. But they’re placed in common areas like the parking lot, the entrance, and the elevators. They’re used for security, to keep track of how many people have been coming into the building, and other similar business purposes.

RN24: I see.

Mr. S: Stop and think about it. Love hotels are, above all else, businesses. One of the hotels I worked at was a renovated building, but those improvements cost over 100 million yen (US$971,000). If you’re building a hotel from the ground up, the cost is going to be several times that.

As a business, you have to recoup those costs. So what management fears the most is something that’s going to force them to suspend operations. If you ignore regulations from the health inspector or the police, there’s a chance they’ll shut you down, but if someone finds just one hidden camera, you’re done.

Since it takes several years to earn back the initial investment, I don’t think there are any hotel operators dumb enough to shoot themselves in the foot by recording guests in their rooms. I mean, could you sell a video of that for 100 million yen? No way!

RN24: Okay, so the hotel owners aren’t putting in hidden cameras. But what about the lower-ranking employees, or the customers themselves?

Mr. S: I can’t say there’s absolutely no chance of that, but the probability is infinitely small. First, it would be incredibly difficult for an employee to hide a camera, since the management uses a computer system to track who was in which room at what time.

It usually takes 15 minutes to clean a room, so if someone is in there for 30, the shift manager will go check and see what’s going on. They do this to keep the workers from slacking off.

And besides, if an employee wanted to sell the video, could he make the connections to find customers and set up the sales? Those are some pretty tough hurdles to clear.

RN24: Then what about love hotel guests hiding cameras in the rooms?

Mr. S: I worked in the love hotel industry for five years, and during that time I never found a single hidden camera. But if someone was going to hide one, I guess it’d be easiest for another guest to do it. The staff has no way of knowing what guests are doing inside their rooms. Short stay plans for love hotels often start at three hours, and if they’re staying overnight they’ve got even more time.

But I think there’s only the slightest chance of a camera remaining hidden. The cleaning staff know the rooms inside and out, and if the guest did something strange to the room, they’ll notice it right away. And it’s not like the rooms are only getting cleaned once a day. If the hotel is busy, it might get cleaned five or six times, and that makes it even harder to get away with hiding something.

RN24: So you’re saying there’s hardly any possibility of being secretly filmed while you’re in a love hotel room?

Mr. S: Yes, that’s what I’m saying…Oh, but even though I never found a hidden camera, I found a whole bunch of syringes. I don’t know what they were being used for…”

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