Baseball stadiums remove loan sharks' ads

Billboards advertising money lending companies have disappeared from the Tokyo Dome, home of two professional baseball teams, the Yomiuri Giants and the Nippon-Ham Fighters.

At Tokyo Dome, this year's professional baseball regular season opened on March 28 with scenery different from last season: Advertisements of non-bank money lenders had been removed.

The money lenders for individuals and small businesses are expanding their cash services by taking advantage of the economic recession and banks' reluctance to lend money. Their lending interest rates range from 25 to 29 percent, which is higher than the legal limit, which is between 15 -20 percent.

These money lenders have driven borrowers into personal bankruptcy and even suicide, destroying families.

As games at Tokyo Dome normally are broadcast live on television and people saw loan sharks' ads on the screens, it is important that their billboards have been removed.

Late last year, Akahata ran a series of stories revealing how non-bank money lending firms are using sports to cover up their dark side, and sent copies of the stories to the 12 professional baseball teams and 160 sports circles, including stadiums, plus 60 sports leaders.

An executive officer of a baseball team sent a letter to the JCP, saying, "I was surprised to know how the loan sharks are penetrating the baseball world. I immediately told the stadium manager to remove the money-lending firms' advertisements."

In Chiba Prefecture, Japanese Communist Party prefectural assembly members made representations to Marine Stadium, home of the professional baseball team Chiba Lotte Marines, calling for the establishment of regulations on loan sharks' ads in the ballpark.

The Marine Stadium manager promised JCP members of the Chiba Prefectural Assembly to follow Tokyo Dome's example.

JCP candidate for the Chiba Prefectural Assembly election Yuki Fusae said, "We should seek to establish an environment of fair play." (end)

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