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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008
Most video parlors in violation of building, fire laws
By ALEX MARTIN
According to a national survey conducted in response to the arson fire that killed 16 people at a video parlor in Osaka in October, a majority of such establishments were in violation of fire protection laws and building codes.
The survey, conducted by the transport ministry and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, found that out of approximately 800 video parlors nationwide, 668, or 87 percent, violated fire safety laws and 64 percent violated building laws.
"We're sending out warnings to all violators to conduct nighttime evacuation drills and install automated fire alarms if they don't have them yet," an official at the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday.
The most common violation of fire safety laws was not holding the required twice-yearly fire drills, in 59 percent of the parlors, followed by failure by 48 percent to periodically report to the fire department the state of their fire protection equipment. Thirty percent lacked guidance lights, for instance the green lights that identify exits.
Violations of the building code included a lack of emergency lighting, which kicks in if the electricity is knocked out, in 56 percent of the parlors, a lack of ventilation fans or windows in 39 percent and an absence of fire doors in 17 percent.
Most of the venues are located in crowded urban areas.
The government also conducted surveys on karaoke parlors, Internet cafes and telephone-based dating clubs, and turned up plenty of fire and building code violations.