Japan, in recent months, has moved towards implementing a lot of programs and strategies to boost the economy. In a bid to rival South Korea as a top tourist destination, the government is now seriously considering making casinos legal in the country to attract more visitors.
Previous undertakings from the major political parties of Japan to legalize casinos have failed, mostly due to concerns on crime rates increasing and addiction to gambling. However, with the nation preparing for the influx of tourists coming to the country for the 2020 Olympics, some Diet members have opened the issue again. Some members from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Japan Restoration Party and the People’s Life Party have put together a draft proposal centering on international tourism. Led by LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, the proposal suggests the establishment of a promotional headquarters for casino legislation in the Cabinet that would eventually handle the creation of laws and ordinances pertaining to it. Gambling has always been banned in Japan, except for a few exceptions such as horse betting and some motor sports. The cultural perspective on gambling is that it causes a lot of social problems related to it such as debt or using illegal money. These are the reasons some political parties such as the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party along with other concerned civic groups, have opposed its legalization. Even The New Komeito Party is disunited in their support for casinos with nine members supporting it.
However, major cities and local governments including Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka and Okinawa have expressed intent to put up casino resorts to trigger an increase in tourism, which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warmed to the idea, saying that legalizing casinos will “bring many benefits” to the nation’s economic strategy.
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