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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 16 - 22  > Public hearing on casino gambling meets severe disapproval
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2017 August 16 - 22 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Public hearing on casino gambling meets severe disapproval

August 18, 2017
Many speakers at a public hearing held in Tokyo on August 17 offered their dissenting views against promotion of the establishment of casino-centric integrated resorts (IR).

The meeting was held for the purpose of hearing opinions directly from the general public regarding the basic guidelines for operating integrated resort casinos released by the expert panel of the government task force. In addition to Tokyo, public hearings will be held in eight other cities.

Tourism Minister Ishii Keiichi said that the ministry is preparing a bill on casino operational guidelines for an extraordinary Diet session slated for this autumn.

Representatives of the U.S. casino corporation, Wynn Resorts, and Japan’s major advertising agency, Hakuhodo, were absent from the public hearing on that day, though they were expected to attend.

A man who came from Yokohama City said that he asked passersby in Yokohama whether they would vote for or against establishing a casino gambling. The man went on to say that 82.4% of respondents voted against. He, in expressing his opposition, said, “In Japan, where the number of gambling addicts is very large compared to foreign countries, an introduction of casino gambling will lead to to an increase in gambling addiction.”

The person in charge of the casino issue of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) voiced strong dissatisfaction with the draft operational guidelines which include an upper limit on casino floor space. The person requested that the government deregulate restrictions to make casinos in Japan more profitable.

On the other hand, outside the building where the public hearing was being held, members of anti-casino organizations carried out a protest action on the streets to oppose the introduction of casino gambling.

Lawyer Niisato Koji, a representative of the anti-casino organization, said, “About 70 % of the general public oppose the introduction of casino gambling. We must block the Abe government’s attempt to promote casino gambling which has been forbidden for a long time in Japan.”

Seigakuin University Professor Shibata Takeo, who participated in the public hearing and the protest action against establishing casino gambling in Japan said, “Opening casino facilities will have an overall negative impact on Japanese society and the economy. The presence of casino gambling does much harm but no good.”
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