A dangerous possibility emerges that the Abe government will make a law that should legalize gambling. It defines this kind of industry as a key component of economic growth strategy. Gambling has derailed lives of many people and produced numerous tragedies. It is absurd for the government to incorporate luckless games in the strategy to enhance economy. The bill must be abandoned. Let’s oppose the bill.
GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES GAMBLING FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
The bill in question is formally called a bill to promote development of specific districts of integrated resort complex (the IR Bill) which allows operation of casinos and urges to develop integrated facilities for holidaymakers.
A Key Element to Boost Economy, What?
The bill was presented to the Diet last December by a group of lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Nippon Ishin-no-kai (=the Restoration Party) and the Seikatsu-no-To (=the People’s Life Party). Diet members from the Komeito and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) refused to join the group as they considered carefully over their respective internal debates. The Diet began discussing the bill in a hurried way just four days before the closure of the session and it was put on the list of agenda for continued debates.
The Abe government defines casinos as a major instrument in its economic strategy and approximately 200 lawmakers form a league to support the idea. The organization insists that ‘thanks to an increased number of tourists economy will gain impetus for growing and a local government can improve financing its municipality as it enjoys bigger tax revenue from casino operators’. They appraise merits of removal of ban on gambling. The top executive of lawmakers’ league, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, is excited to stress that ‘casinos will be a centerpiece of the growth strategy’.
The IR bill provides ‘profits from casinos will be redistributed into the society’ and entrusts the government to design a groundwork. If a law is implemented, the government will be obliged to submit relevant bills within a year to lift the ban. The advocates make hurry, asserting that ‘it is the best to enact now in the current session in order to open resort complexes to welcome the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games’.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide told October 3 in the press meeting that ‘the government makes utmost efforts to legislate during the on-going session’. The government began working in July by setting up inside the Cabinet Secretariat a team composed of officials from related ministries and agencies with an assumption that the bill might be approved.
Profits from Casinos for Financing Municipality
If the ban is removed, gambling addiction will increase and illicit cleansing of money or laundering will thrive at the casinos. Concerns emerge. In other words the penal code that prohibits gambling will be practically deserted.
Even at this moment a survey shows a shocking record; 4.8% of Japanese citizens (5.36 million people) are suspected as addicts. According to a study conducted in July last year by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as far as male addicts are concerned, the rate counts 8.7%, numbering 4.38 million men. Judging from the international records, the figures are extremely big.
Gambling is played in a system where operators gain and gamblers lose. The addicted have suffered from numerous tragedies, like a hell of debts, a loss of job, a suicide and crimes.
Some of the advocates say ‘some part of profits may be allocated to measures to save the addicts’. Replace a term casino with opium and you can understand craziness better. The existing criminal code forbids gambling because it is to keep people away from those tragedies. It is insane to think gambling, which drives people into the hell, should contribute to boosting economy.
October 14, 2014