Photo/Illutration Lawyers for the plaintiff enter the Tokyo District Court on June 30. (Yuri Murakami)

The Tokyo District Court on June 30 rejected a lawsuit by a sex business operator seeking compensation because the government excluded the business from coronavirus relief grants.

The Kansai region-based operator that dispatched sex workers had sought about 4.5 million yen ($33,000) from the central government for unpaid grants and compensation on the grounds the exclusion violated Article 14 of the government ensuring equality under the law.

The ruling is believed the first regarding a sex-related business trying to obtain a COVID-19 government grant.

The plaintiff argued the business had no ties to organized crime and had always paid its requisite taxes.

But government lawyers said such businesses were inherently “unwholesome” and that the public would not have understood why the grants were being distributed to such businesses.

The grant program was designed to help small businesses struggling financially from the effects of the pandemic.

The only other entities excluded from the subsidy program were local governments, political organizations and religious groups.