Mar. 01 - A revision to Japan's Animal Protection Law banning the late-night display of cats and dogs spells trouble for Tokyo's ''cat cafes.'' Elly Park reports.
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It's destressing time for Tokyo resident Ayumi Sekigushi. The 23-year-old visits this cat café several times a week to play with its pets. But a new law threatens her hobby. SOUNDBITE: Tokyo resident Ayumi Sekigushi, saying (Japanese) "It's a great place. It calms the stresses of working life. But if this law gets though that enjoyment is going to disappear, it's a real shame." A change in Japan's Animal Protection Law will force cat cafes to close at 8pm. The new law is meant to curb business practices of late-night pet shops, which often sell pets around the clock. But it will hurt the bottom line of café owner Hiromi Kawase, who sees most of her customers come in after work and stay until closing time. SOUNDBITE: Cat café owner Hiromi Kawase, saying (Japanese) "If our business hours go down by two hours, and we lose two hours worth of profits, then of course it's going to affect us, but it's also going to affect the cats. You know, getting in all the things they need to grow like the correct amount of food, the nutrition they need." Playing with cats at Kawase's café isn't expensive -- around 1,000 yen or 12 U.S. dollars per hour. Drinks are priced around 300 yen or 4 U.S. dollars. And with the new law scheduled to come into effect on June 1st there is little time left for Kawase to boost her sales. Elly Park, Reuters.
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