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2019 December 25 - 2020 January 14 [POLITICS]

Extra-ministerial casino bureau set up amid bribery scandal

January 8, 2020

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo will push ahead with his plan to map out a schedule so as to promote casino gambling in Japan amid growing concern of many people over the proposed introduction of casino gambling.

The Abe government on January 7 launched a new administrative organization as an extra-ministerial bureau of the Cabinet Office in order to regulate and oversee casino operations.

Coincidentally, the new organization was founded a short while after a Liberal Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives who had been a vice minister in charge of casinos was arrested for bribery and when the suspicion against four other LDP Dietmembers and one "Nippon Ishin no Kai" lawmaker over their bribe-taking has come to light.

The government is uneasy about the ramifications of these allegations. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide on a BS news program aired on the day before said, "Japan needs casino-centric integrated resorts (IR) to promote tourism. So, this policy has nothing to do with the bribery case."

The new organization of 125 staff members with a budget of 3.81 billion yen in the 2020 draft will play a key role in regulating and overseeing the entry of casino business operators, what PM Abe calls "the world's toughest casino restrictions", and implementing fraud prevention countermeasures and measures to prevent gambling addiction.

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