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Japan court ruling stirs controversy among adultery experts

By
Elizabeth Shim
Judge Masamitsu Shiseki of the Tokyo District Court ruled in 2014 that sex conducted like business does not harm marriage, a decision that is being hotly debated in Japan. Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Judge Masamitsu Shiseki of the Tokyo District Court ruled in 2014 that sex conducted like business does not harm marriage, a decision that is being hotly debated in Japan. Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

TOKYO, June 10 (UPI) -- Sexual relationships that involve the exchange of money cannot be considered adultery, according to a Tokyo District Court ruling involving a couple and a bar hostess.

The verdict finalized in 2014 is stirring controversy among Japan's legal experts, The Japan Times reported Wednesday. No damages were rewarded to the plaintiff – the wife of a man who was allegedly sleeping with a hostess for more than seven years.

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Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported the sexual relationship between the man, a company president, and the paid sex partner had caused the plaintiff "emotional distress," and that she had sought more than $32,000 in compensation.

Judge Masamitsu Shiseki of the Tokyo District Court ruled in 2014 the sex between the plaintiff's husband and the hostess was strictly business, and therefore did not harm the marriage.

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"The defendant had sexual relations with her patron only for business, like in cases of prostitution, and such conduct does not damage peaceful marital life," Shiseki had said.

"Even if the wife is disgusted by the act, it does not constitute a legal offense," the judge ruled.

The plaintiff did not appeal the ruling, and her attorney, Katsuyuki Aoshima, called the decision a "vicious precedent." Aoshima told The Japan Times the case could weaken legal protections against adultery in Japan.

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The defendant, the bar hostess, has denied having sexual intercourse with the plaintiff's husband.

Hayato Tamura, a legal expert on divorce and adultery in Japan, said court precedents showed that the cheating spouse and his or her extramarital partner should be held jointly responsible for damages.

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