Sex work in Japan has been highly shaped and even formalized for 300 years. A coalition based on the rights of sex workers might have been far more efficient in fighting exploitative proprietors and decreasing the incidence of venereal disease (VD). In Japan, sex workers were not the only ones who could find profit and opportunity during the Allied Occupation. The proprietors have managed a law that put streetwalkers out of business and solidified their control over the industry. The Prostitution Prevention Law has protected the interests of male proprietors and permitted sex work to continue in base areas and exempted clients from the risk of prosecution. Sex workers under the Occupation were unambiguously authorized, with control over their fortunes, their families, and their fates. In general, the history of Japan under occupation demonstrates that it is all too easy to treat the most vulnerable people as symbols.
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