Relaxing the Barber and Beautician Laws

As Adamu noted about a year ago, Japan recently deregulated the laws regarding haircuts, opening up the route for discount barbershops. As I noted in comments, Japan treats 理容師 (riyoushi, barbers) and 美容師 (biyoushi, beauticians) with different legal and health and safety regimes. In summary:
* A barber is generally much cheaper because their scope of work is limited—they can give you haircuts, shaves, perms and dyes, but that’s about it. You can work in this industry as long as you’re operating in accordance with the law, with minimal licensing requirements. The Japanese text of the law is here.
* A beautician is authorised to do a lot more, from nails to massages to hair extensions to whatever else (but they cannot shave your face), but this is more expensive because the required training prior to licensing is more expensive, and the scope of expertise is much broader. Notably, a beautician is prohibited from shaving a man’s beard, which is the exclusive work of a barber. The Japanese text of the law is here.

Both are restricted from working at anywhere other than a licensed and designated place of business. The Barber law reads:

第6条の2 理容師は、理容所以外において、その業をしてはならない。但し、政令で定めるところにより、特別の事情がある場合には、理容所以外の場所においてその業を行うことができる。
Article 6-2: A barber must not conduct work outside a barbershop; provided that, in the terms of a ministry order, in special circumstances, they may do work at a place outside a barbershop.

Then, the Beautician Law reads:

第7条 美容師は、美容所以外の場所において、美容の業をしてはならない。ただし、政令で定める特別の事情がある場合には、この限りでない。
Article 7: A beautician must not conduct work outside a salon; provided that, in special circumstances set by ministry order shall not be so restricted.

Yet in the wake of the earthquake that has devastated the Tohoku region of Japan, the government has relaxed laws on haircutting to allow barbers and stylists in areas affected by the earthquake, allowing them to clip and style at evacuation shelters or any other makeshift location, for a period of two years starting this month.

This might seem like trivia — but as Adamu discussed in his previous post noted above, this does something to chip away “guild-based restrictions” that could result in permanent deregulation and thus lower pricing.

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