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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 October 23 - 29  > Education minister intends to use casino profits to fund cultural budget
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2013 October 23 - 29 [ARTS AND SPORTS]

Education minister intends to use casino profits to fund cultural budget

October 24, 2013
The Cultural Affairs Agency, at the initiative of the education and culture minister, is considering earmarking casino profits to fund the budget for culture and arts under the present government which is taking a positive stance toward lifting of the ban on casino gambling.

This revelation came out on October 23 following an Akahata investigation.

Education and Culture Minister Shimomura Hakubun put forth this idea to his private advisory panel in May this year. After discussing it twice, the panel drafted a plan to double the culture-related budget.

Based on the discussion held at the minister’s consulting group, the Cultural Affairs Agency is exploring the possibility of taking advantage of casinos to increase the amount of the cultural affairs budget. In other words, support for culture and arts programs is being used as an excuse for legalization of casino gambling which the existing Penal Code prohibits.

It is a very outrageous idea, said freelance writer Furukawa Miho who wrote the book “Gyanburu Taikoku Nippon” (Nippon, the Gambling Power).

She pointed out that an estimated 9.6% of male adults are addicted to some kind of gambling, and that the number of gambling addicts is somewhere between two to four million.

Furukawa questions the concept in which the government itself promotes gambling facilities while neither conducting surveys on the actual situation of gamblaholics nor establishing a system to give them effective treatment.

The writer said it is hard to believe that the education minister who is responsible for the sound growth of young people is leading the discussion to make use of casinos as part of Japan’s cultural policy. “Japan should stay away from promoting casinos,” she concluded.
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