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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 August 20 - 26  > Legalization of casinos will increase rate of gambling addiction in Japan
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2014 August 20 - 26 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Legalization of casinos will increase rate of gambling addiction in Japan

August 25, 2014
A study team of the health ministry on August 20 released its survey results showing that in Japan 5.36 million people are suffering from pathological gambling, proving that gambling addiction is already a major social problem in Japan.

The survey results should be a strong warning to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s attempt to legalize casino gambling in the upcoming extraordinary Diet session to be convened this autumn.

According to the survey results, among adult Japanese, 8.8% or 4.38 million of men and 1.8% or 980,000 women are considered addicted gamblers. This is the first time that the estimated number of people having a gambling addiction has been made public.

The study team also published data of similar surveys conducted in nine countries, such as Australia, France, and New Zealand.

Of them, Australia’s survey data gave figures closest to Japan’s. Australia surveyed gambling problems in 2001 and found that gambling addiction may affect 2.4% of males and 1.7% of females. These figures, however, fell well below Japan’s rate.

In Japan, six events, including horse racing and bicycle racing, allow public gambling. In addition, pachinko (Japanese pinball) parlors, which in effect play a role as a gambling venue, operate throughout Japan. These venues are creating a situation where people can easily access gambling anywhere at any time. This is why Japan has a large number of people addicted to gambling.

Hannan University professor Sakurada Teruo, who is working on the compulsive gambling issue, said, “The health ministry’s survey results revealed the considerable size of gambling addiction in Japan. Easy access to gambling places constitutes an important factor leading to gambling addiction. Pro-casino forces are aggressively moving forward with their intent to legalize casino gambling under Prime Minister Abe who shows his willingness to do so. However, the need now is to discuss casino-related matters in a cool-headed manner by taking into account various problems.”

Past related article:
> JCP calls for support for gambling addicts and killing of bill to OK casinos [April 29, 2014]
> Education minister intends to use casino profits to fund cultural budget [October 24, 2013]
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