he government launched a body to regulate casino resorts on Tuesday, amid a bribery scandal that could threaten its strategy to shore up economic growth through the introduction of such facilities.
The government intends to proceed with its plans to introduce casino integrated resorts (IR), while public prosecutors are investigating the bribery case allegedly involving several lawmakers and a Chinese firm hoping to run a casino in Japan, the Jiji Press reports.
The new Casino Regulatory Commission, affiliated to the Cabinet Office, has the authority to issue licenses necessary to run casinos in Japan and impose administrative punishments for irregularities, including the cancellation of licenses. The body also has the power to require casino operators to make reports and accept inspections so it can check whether they operate properly.
In addition, the body is tasked with taking measures to prevent gambling addiction and drawing up specific rules to regulate and supervise casino operators.
The commission “has the mission to implement strict casino regulations and ensure sound casino management,” Ryota Takeda, minister in charge of related administrative work, told a press conference. “I hope the commission will work as an independent, fair and trusted organization,” the minister added.
The new commission will be headed by Michio Kitamura, former head of the Fukuoka High Public Prosecutors Office, with four members, The Asahi Shimbun reports. These are Hiroyuki Ujikane, former chief of the National Tax Agency’s Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau; Michiko Watari, a psychiatrist; Noriko Endo, a professor of energy science at Keio University's graduate school; and Tateshi Higuchi, former head of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department.