Japanese comedian claims COVID-19 pandemic will prod 'pretty girls' into sex industry

Kyodo News

Posted at Apr 29 2020 09:38 PM

A passerby is seen in Kabukicho nightlife district, during a state of emergency to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan, April 28, 2020. Issei Kato, Reuters

TOKYO - A Japanese comedian apologized Wednesday for his recent remarks that men can look forward to seeing "pretty girls entering (the sex industry) after the coronavirus is over" as they would be in need of money and obliged to take such jobs temporarily.

Takashi Okamura, who sparked controversy after making the remarks last week during a weekly midnight live radio show he hosts, said he "deeply regrets" them in a statement posted on the website of Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings Co., to which he belongs.

Okamura, 49, who forms the two-man comedy unit Ninety-nine with Hiroyuki Yabe, said he made the remarks "without considering circumstances in the world," adding they were "extremely inappropriate toward people who are in a tough position."

During the "All Night Nippon" radio show broadcast by Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. in the early hours of last Friday, Okamura made the remarks in question after reading a comment from a listener who complained about being unable to use services in the sex industry due to the pandemic.

"God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear," he said, and added, "After the coronavirus is over, something absolutely fantastic will occur."

"You will think, 'I've never seen a girl like this' (in the industry) after the coronavirus is over...so please hold on, save your money now for use in 'fuzoku' (sexual entertainment services)" after the pandemic is gone, he quipped.

Prior to his apology, Nippon Broadcasting System offered an apology on its website on Monday, saying Okamura's remarks showed "lack of understanding of the current coronavirus calamities as well as lack of respect for women."