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Mito Kakizawa Discusses Casino Support

SNA (Tokyo) — Mito Kakizawa, the policy chief of the opposition Unity Party, recently sat down with the Shingetsu News Agency to discuss the reasons why he supports the establishment of casinos in Japan. Kakizawa is one of the leaders of the Diet Members’ League for the Promotion of International Tourism, a cross-party group of national lawmakers.

In this interview, conducted in Japanese, Kakizawa argues that most advanced countries now allow some casinos on their territories, and that places like Las Vegas, which once had a dark image, have now added shopping and entertainment facilities that have made it a vacation venue for whole families. He finds the success of Las Vegas to be compelling.

In Asia too a similar kind of success has been achieved in places like Macau and Singapore. They have brought in many more tourists and new wealth into their economies. Kakizawa feels that their is no reason why Japan shouldn’t try to emulate their success.

Moreover, Kakizawa points out that many Japanese citizens are already engaged in gambling, but they either do it illegally within Japan or else travel abroad to enjoy this pastime. Wouldn’t it be better, he argues, that gambling be done openly within Japan in order to keep that wealth in the domestic economy and to ensure a healthy and safe environment for the Japanese gamblers?

Kakizawa adds that there are already some forms of gambling that are legal and widely available in Japan, including horse racing, bicycle racing, and pachinko. He criticizes the cultural conservatism of those Japanese who seem to argue that whatever is permitted today is not a problem, but if something new comes along they automatically treat it with suspicion and hostility.

In sum, Kakizawa argues that while the establishment of casinos within integrated resorts in various parts of Japan will cause some problems, these concerns are likely to be far outstripped by the benefits to the nation in terms of more revenues from shopping and tourism, and more employment opportunities for the Japanese.

A five-and-a-half minute excerpt of the Japanese-language interview is available on the video link above.

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