The boss of the Yokohama’s transport association, Hiroyuki Minakami, has reiterated his support to the harbor’s battle against gambling. He heads the association that represents the Yamashita Pier’s dockers who would see their warehouses destroyed under a proposal related to the potential construction of a massive casino resort on the site.
Now, following the revelations that a leading Member of Parliament from the ruling party in Japan had been arrested following suspicions of him taking bribes from a Chinese gambling operator that was interested in getting a Japanese casino license, Mr. Minakami has commented that the entire process was questionable from the start. He referred to the planned development of one of the integrated casino resorts in Yokohama as part of the Japanese Prime Minister’s ambition to expand the local gambling industry and to make the country a more attractive destination for visitors.
As CasinoGamesPro already reported, Tsukasa Akimoto, an upper house member from the ruling party faced allegations that he took a total of ¥7.6 million in bribes from a Chinese investor that had been willing to get a casino license for the construction of an integrated casino resort in Hokkaido. The city is one of the frontrunners for hosting such an establishment, with a maximum of three casino licenses being planned in the country.
Now, the question is whether the allegations against Mr. Akimoto, are an isolated case or corruption related to the casino expansion in Japan is much more serious than that.
About Two-Thirds of Japanese People Do Not Support Prime Minister’s Casino Policy
According to the results of some opinion polls, approximately two-thirds of Japanese people do not back the casino expansion started by Prime Minister Abe. This percentage rate rises to 80% when it comes to Yokohama residents.
The suspicions of even more serious corruption among parliamentary members made Mr. Minakami thing that the arrest faced by Mr. Akimoto would be the first of many.
As CasinoGamesPro reported, Mr. Akimoto has so far denied the allegations, saying he did nothing in order to provide a particular competitor for a casino license with an advantage. He said he took no bribes for his work and has been released on bail for the time being. Japanese prosecutors initiated a search of Melco’s local offices but it still remains unclear whether that search has anything to do with the allegations faced by the upper house lawmaker or not.
The planned casino expansion, along with the passage of the new casino law, fuelled fierce discussions regarding the proposed integrated casino resorts, despite the willingness of a number of Japanese cities that are eager to take advantage of the expected revenues. Several international gambling operators, including Las Vegas Sands, Genting, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Melco Resorts have confirmed interest in expanding their presence in the country individually or in partnerships that, if everything goes as planned, will see some Japanese cities and prefectures open to casino gambling.