Metropolitan government may ask other parts of Japan to match its restrictions on adult entertainment advertising.

In Japan, you’ll sometimes come across trucks plastered with ads on them. These aren’t delivery trucks whose owners are trying to make a little extra money while on their way to and from drop-offs, though. Instead, these “promotional vehicles” are essentially mobile billboards that cruise around and around a neighborhood, drawing attention to whatever they’re advertising with lights and music. Some of them are promoting a pop star’s new album or a concert or other event. But other times the trucks are covered with an ad for a hostess or host bar.

▼ A hostess bar promotional vehicle

Since 2011, Tokyo promotional trucks have been required to submit an application to the city government. Officials then evaluate the ad based on criteria including its appropriateness for a public space, possible negative aesthetic effects, and whether it will disturb or offend passersby. Generally, applications from promotional vehicles for hostess and host bars are turned down, but you’ll still see trucks advertising such businesses driving around in Tokyo, because of a loophole in the permit system.

Currently, the evaluation is only required for vehicles registered in Tokyo, i.e. promotional vehicles with a Tokyo license plate. However, promotional trucks registered outside of Tokyo can operate in the city without their ads being evaluated, so trucks registered in neighboring prefectures, or even further away, can drive into the city, and then around it, with hostess/host bar ads on them. In field study conducted by the Tokyo metropolitan government in Shinjuku and Shibuya (two of the Tokyo districts with the most promotional vehicles) during a six-day period in February, roughly 70 non-Tokyo promotional trucks were spotted, with about 70 percent of them advertising hostess/host clubs or other adult entertainment establishments.

▼ A host bar promotional vehicle

To close this loophole, the Tokyo government is looking to expand the registration requirement to include any promotional truck operating within Tokyo, regardless of where the vehicle is registered, according to a source speaking with the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. The new regulations would begin being enforced within the governmental operating year, which ends at the beginning of March.

While advertising is prevalent throughout downtown Tokyo, ads for hostess/host clubs tends to be found only in bar districts where such clubs operate. Outside of those areas, it’s extremely rare to see any sort of permanent advertising, such as billboards or posters, for them.

Tokyo officials are also considering asking the neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama to impose matching application requirements for promotional trucks operating within their borders in order to create uniform rules for the region.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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