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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 April 27 - May 10  > Government should abandon casino gambling-dependent economic policy
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2022 April 27 - May 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Government should abandon casino gambling-dependent economic policy

April 29, 2022

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Applications by municipalities for government authorization to develop a casino-centric integrated resort (IR) closed on April 28. The national government’s expert panel will start screening procedures and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will give approval to the applicants who pass the screening.

The national government intended to give IR approval to three local governments at the most, but the actual number of municipalities which submitted the application was only two, Osaka City and Nagasaki Prefecture.

According to the Nagasaki Prefectural government’s application, a company selected as an IR operator is a subsidiary of Casinos Austria International. This aroused a question in the prefectural assembly about whether the firm has the financial assets to run a huge casino business in Japan as it is a small-scale casino operator in Austria.

The other applicant, the Osaka City government, chose a joint venture by U.S. major casino operator MGM and Japan’s financial firm Orix as IR operator. It is believed that MGM has a sound financial foundation. However, the reality is different. The company is struggling with debts and has received low ratings from a U.S. major credit rating agency.

As pro-casino advocates, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, and the "Nippon Ishin no Kai" party claim that the huge profits earned by casinos will have major economic effects.

They envision that if Japan invests one trillion yen in an international conference center, an exhibition hall, hotels, and entertainment facilities with the use of casino profits, this will attract many tourists from across the globe. They also boast that positive economic effects will be brought about by foreign visitors and will be “the centerpiece of Japan’s growth strategy” as stated by former Prime Minister Abe.

However, major casino businesses in the United States and Macao which used to indicate their intent to invest one trillion yen in casinos in Japan have expressed their withdrawal from casino investments in Japan.

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Daimon Mikishi at House of Councilors meetings demanded a review of the government plan to promote IR development projects. However, Prime Minister Kishida repeatedly says, “In order to make Japan a tourism-oriented country, IR development is important.”

Under the government’s IR development plan, 80% of the total revenue is expected to come from casinos. The government should abandon this gambling-dependent economic policy which will increase problems associated with gambling addiction and will have a harmful overall influence on society.

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