Thursday 22 March 2018

Clubbers rejoice as Japan lifts 'Footloose' ban on dancing after 67 years

TOKYO, JAPAN: Young Japanese perform
TOKYO, JAPAN: Young Japanese perform "Para-para" dance steps with Euro-beat music on the floor of the Tokyo discotheque "Twin Star" 29 February 2000 night.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

For the past 67 years public dancing has been banned in Japan, but the 'Footloose' law has finally been overturned, much to the delight of Japanese clubbers.

Only premises with a licence could allow dancing, but only until midnight, after which time clubbers had to stifle their moves.

The law came into force after the Second World War when dancehalls had something of a prostitution problem, but in recent years it became harder to police and the law was regularly broken.

However, club raids became common in the 2000s as drug scandals rocked the club scene and the law was enforced again.

Now, however, a campaign by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto against the law bagged 150,000 signatures and the new law was ratified last week and will come into force in 2016.

Another reason for the change in law is the upcoming 2020 Olympics and the expected influx of foreigners and cash to the country.

Japan is not, in fact, the only country to have banned dancing.  Spontaneous dancing is also illegal in Sweden.  A special dancing licence is required by premises who want to allow their patrons to bust a move.

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