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Senior Japanese Official Accused of Trafficking Filipino Women
Senior Japanese official accused of trafficking Filipino women

A Japanese government official is under investigation for alleged involvement in trafficking Filipino women, an online news site based in Tokyo said on Oct. 18.

Japan Times Online said Masatoshi Kurata, senior vice minister of internal affairs and communications, has been accused of arranging visas for Filipino women to enter Japan and perform at "charity concerts," but would instead end up working as bar hostesses.

Earlier reports said that the official asked favors from their Justice and Foreign ministries to provide short-term visas for an unspecified number of Filipino women so they could perform at "charity concerts" on behalf of the residents of Leyte, which was hit by massive landslides in 2006.

Since performers are required to obtain entertainment visas, immigration authorities during that time supposedly issued short-term visas because the events were for charity. However, the women allegedly worked in pubs in Hamamatsu and Shizuoka Prefecture after the concerts.

Reports said that the visas were applied for by a non-profit organization linked to Kurata's former public secretary.

Japan Times Online said Kurata denied the allegations and described them as "groundless."

The report said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura declined to comment on the issue but said that the government and the Justice Ministry were looking into it. In September, Shizuoka Prefectural Police investigated two organizations for allegedly having dispatched Filipino women to pubs even though they had supposedly entered Japan on short-term visas only to participate in charity concerts.






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