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use bytes not necessary #2
I don't think you need to "use bytes".
It seems that the only place where any built-in functions affected by 'use bytes' is used is on this line:
However, $json comes from JSON->new->utf8->encode(...), and therefore it is guaranteed to be a byte string - i.e. the UTF-8 flag will not be set.
If you feel you still need to use bytes, consider isolating it to the smallest necessary lexical scope, i.e. something like:
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This seems to confirm what @erantapaa is saying. Thus I'm inclined to remove the bytes altogether.