The Japanese government has rejigged the structure of the Japan Tourism Agency in order for the body to be responsible for several matters related with the country’s nascent casino industry.
Japan’s tourism agency established this week the “International Tourism Department”, which will be responsible for selecting candidate sites to host casino resorts – or Integrated Resorts (IRs) – in the country and for the oversight of the industry.
The move was announced on Monday by the Japan Tourism Agency, a body under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This was the first new department created since the inception of the Japan Tourism Agency in October 2008.
The newly-created department has an aggregate of 73 staff, with Jun Takashina named its director-general. Mr Takashina worked in other departments of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry until July 2018, when he joined the tourism agency as a deputy director-general.
A maximum of three resorts will be permitted in a first phase of market liberalisation. The national government has yet to announce its so-called basic policy on IRs. That would include – among other things – the central authorities’ criteria for selecting what places should be allowed to have a casino resort.
According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, the new department of the Japan Tourism Agency would start officially working on matters related with the country’s casino industry after the government IR basic policy is announced.
Several prefectural governments and ordinance-designated cities in Japan have already shown interest in hosting an IR. A number of global casino operators have also flagged their interest in bidding for a casino licence in Japan.
Japan’s IR Implementation Act, passed in July last year, stipulates that the basic policy for the development of integrated resorts should be put forward within two years. It also states that the national government should set up a casino management commission within 18 months of the IR Implementation Act’s promulgation.
The casino management commission, an independent agency under Japan’s Cabinet Office, will be established at a later stage, according to information compiled by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent. The body is to be in charge of security matters, probity and background checks.
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