Govt support grows for Japanese casinos
By Paul
Japan’s Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama proposed the creation of a special law to legalize casinos Friday. Moriyama told a news conference that it would be difficult to revise the Penal Code so that casino operations will not be subject to gambling laws, but it is possible to “enact a special law designed for a specific purpose.” Moriyama pointed out that horse racing and lotteries are already permitted under special laws.

Meanwhile, Tokyo’s metropolitan government and four other regional authorities are urging the state to legalize casinos to boost a slumping economy. 'Casinos are powerful tourism resources, and there are high expectations that the new gaming industry would have positive effects on the economy and create jobs,' they said in a statement issued in the name of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, Osaka Governor Fusae Ichikawa and the prefectural heads of Shizuoka located southwest of Tokyo, western Japan's Wakayama and southern Japan's Miyazaki.

The statement was delivered to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Yoshitada Konoike, state minister in charge of crisis prevention and special deregulation zones. Governor Ishihara triggered debate over casinos in 1999 when he announced he planned to build Japan's first legal casino on the capital's vast waterfront called Odaiba.

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