Sep 202014

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA4199 2005-09-06 09:17 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

060917Z Sep 05
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004199



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2015


¶B. MANILA – G/TIP 07/11/05 E-MAIL
¶C. MANILA 3011
¶D. MANILA 1950
¶E. MANILA 1747

Classified By: Political Officer Timothy L. Cipullo
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (SBU) Summary: The number of Filipino “entertainers”
traveling to Japan has fallen sharply as a result of tighter
Japanese visa regulations. This trend is expected to
accelerate as applications filed under the older, more
lenient rules phase out and all applications become subject
to the new rules. The Japanese Embassy is reviewing a
proposal that the Philippine Gaming Commission has developed
and says is aimed at reducing trafficking in Filipino women.
The reduction in the number of Filipinas going to Japan under
the “entertainer” rubric is a positive development that will
likely lead to fewer incidences of trafficking. End Summary.

“Entertainer” Visas Down by 15,000

¶2. (U) The number of Filipino “entertainers” departing to
Japan from January to July 2005 decreased by almost 15,000
compared to the same period last year. According to the
GRP’s Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),
only 23,359 Overseas Performing Artists (OPAs) left the
country for Japan during the first seven months of 2005, down
38 percent from the first seven months of 2004 when 37,958
OPAs were deployed. The drop was especially sharp in July,
as a higher percentage of the cases adjudicated fell under
the new, stricter rules. The number of OPAs deployed to
Japan fell 73 percent from July 2004. According to the POEA,
only 291 OPAs have been granted visas under the GoJ’s new
policies. (Note: The GoJ tightened its immigration policies
on March 15, 2005, by refusing to recognize the Artist’s
Records Book issued by the Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority of the Philippines as valid proof of
competence of Filipino artists, among other areas. The GoJ
implemented the rule changes in order to reduce the number of
Filipino “entertainers” being trafficked to Japan, many of
whom end up working in the commercial sex trade – see ref e.
End Note.)

¶3. (C) In a September 2 meeting, Japanese Labor Attache
Tomoaki Noguchi confirmed to poloff that there had been a
sharp reduction in the number of Filipino entertainers
traveling to Japan. He added that he expected the numbers to
slow even more between now and December 2005 by which time
nearly all visa applications will be handled under the new
regulations and applications submitted prior to March 15 will
have been phased out. Poloff asked Noguchi about the
possibility of Filipino recruiting agencies possibly using
nursing/caretaker visas as a backdoor to make up for lost
entertainer visas, as some observers have suspected. Noguchi
said he did not anticipate that this would be a problem,
pointing out that nursing and caretaker jobs were more
appealing and lucrative than illegal alternatives. In any
case, the low number of nursing/caretaker visas available
(likely less than 1000 per year – see ref d) are unlikely to
have a significant impact on the total number of Filipino
“entertainers” in Japan, he said.

GoJ Reviews Gaming Commission Proposal

¶4. (C) In a recent meeting with poloff, Ephraim Genuino, the
Chairman of the GRP’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corporation (PAGCOR), expressed concern over the Tier II
Watch List status of the Philippines in the latest
Trafficking in Persons Report. He said PAGCOR had recently
sent delegations to Japan to meet with club owners and GOJ
officials there to discuss steps to reduce the number of
entertainers being lured into illegal prostitution. Genuino
shared a copy of a PAGCOR-crafted proposal that would have
Japanese club owners pay recruiting agency fees, Japanese
taxes, lodging, and other costs of Filipino entertainers
up-front. Currently, many Filipinas arrive in Japan owing
large sums of money to recruiters and club owners for agent
fees, food, lodging, etc., and Genuino claimed that this
situation leads many entertainers into prostitution to pay
off their debts. Genuino related that he had given this
proposal to the GoJ to review. Noguchi confirmed that the
GoJ was reviewing the proposal, but noted that it may be
difficult to enforce the terms of such agreements given that
club owners often disregard contracts and pay their
performers under the table.


¶5. (C) The reduction in the number of Filipino
“entertainers” going to Japan is a positive development that
will likely lead to fewer incidences of trafficking. The
failure of the new rules to produce immediate results (ref e)
appears to have been caused by a surge in applications filed
just prior to March 15 when the stricter procedures went into
effect. The sharp drop in the number of visas issued under
the new rules appears to confirm that the GoJ has made it
much harder to obtain an OPA visa. So far, we have not seen
any significant moves by Filipino recruiters to circumvent
these restrictions. PAGCOR’s proposal to pay entertainers’
expenses up-front may be a positive step if it were
implemented and enforced effectively. The GoJ seems very
skeptical — with ample justification given the issue of
enforcement — and has not yet indicated whether it plans to
support the proposal.

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