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Matsuyama crackdown clears the streets of barkers

Date Posted: 2007-09-10

A week after a concentrated police action began to rid entertainment districts of barkers, officials say the effect is dramatic.
More than 150 barkers, whose job was to engage and entice potential customers into visiting specific bars, clubs and cabarets, are gone. Some were arrested, while others elected to simply disappear. The barkers, also called catchers, wore black suits and communicated with their respective clubs with wireless radios with earpieces.
“The annoying actions are ended. Implementation of the new law has been very effective,” a police spokesman said. “There are no more barkers doing solicitation, and residents are happy.” One area resident, who has a young daughter, said “Before, it made me afraid to walk around downtown because of the catches. Children’s safety wasn’t good in that environment, and we all worried. Now,” she added, “we want to thank the Prefecture Police who did the cleanup operation.
Catchers, on the other hand, are dismayed by the action, claiming the crackdown has cost them their livelihood. Clubs, bars and cabarets report their daily incomes have dropped 60~70% since police launched the action September 1st. “I was working for three years, said one barker, “and got paid ¥150,000 a month. Now I’m losing pay, too.”
Police report some catchers have quit their jobs, and say some shops are closing. Many staff, including hostesses, are finding it difficult to make money now, police note, and predict there are no guarantees for their job security.

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