A conference panel of Japanese lawmakers has expressed concerns over the negative view that some sections of the Japanese public have regarding casino gaming. Several said it was an obstacle the country’s parliament had to overcome when working on a second piece of legislation – known as the implementation bill – for creation of a national casino industry.
The panel discussion about Japan’s political environment for so-called integrated resorts (IR) came during the Japan Gaming Congress, an event that runs from Wednesday until Thursday in Tokyo (pictured).
“We will have the [IR] implementation law, which is expected to be enacted in the future; but we would also like to implement some laws against gaming addiction,” said Hiroyuki Hosoda from the governing Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, and who is also chairman of a multi-party committee on the casino issue. His comments and those of the other lawmakers were given in Japanese and translated on-site at the Clarion Events Ltd conference.
Several panel speakers noted there was still work to be done regarding what they termed educating the Japanese public, in order to counter the negative image some Japanese have on gaming; mainly because they associated it with gambling addiction. Some opinion polls showing a lack of support for an integrated resort concept involving gaming, caused concerns regarding the legislation process, said Yuichiro Tamaki, deputy secretary-general of Japan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
“When the implementation bill has to be submitted to the Diet [Japan’s parliament], we want to make sure we have enough coordination within the DPJ so that we can vote in favour,” said Mr Tamaki, “How to win the understanding of the Japanese people is something at which we have do a very good job.”
Koichi Haguida, Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, said that as part of the overall economic growth strategy of Japan, integrated resorts – involving casino gaming – were a means to boost luxury tourism.
“By 2030, we would like to see 60 million inbound tourists. We would like to achieve JPY50 trillion [US$438.9 billion] in the amount of money spent by international inbound tourists; and domestic consumers will spend hopefully 30 trillion yen by 2030,” said Mr Haguida.
“In order to achieve those numbers, business executives with high disposable income must be welcome to Japan, so the goal is to increase business tourism. And of course [a] casino is part of the IR concept, so that we have world-class integrated resorts in order to achieve or promote luxury tourism as a whole, which includes business tourism,” said Mr Haguida.
Takeshi Iwaya, secretary-general of a multi-party committee in Japan’s House of Representatives, said that he hoped to see “most parts of the implementation bill” formulated – with consensus among the Japanese public – by summer this year.
“And when the Diet meets in the fall [autumn], the bill will be submitted there and deliberation could be carried out. And the implementation bill will be passed some time by the end of this year,” said Mr Iwaya.
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