- Title: Japan to proceed with casino plan despite lawmaker's arrest
- Date: 26th December 2019
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (DECEMBER 26, 2019) (REUTERS) SHIMBASHI STATION IN CENTRAL TOKYO PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT OF STATION (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 27-YEAR-OLD VISITOR FROM KANAGAWA PREFECTURE, YUKI HASHIMOTO, SAYING: "I think (this case is) a tip of the iceberg. But it is us, the voters, who voted in elections. So I think those voters may have responsibility." PEOPLE WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 65-YEAR-OLD VISITOR FROM CHIBA PREFECTURE, MASAKO MITSUHASHI, SAYING: "China is a big continent and I feel like we (Japan) are swallowed by them. I think if lawmakers actively deal with this concern, Japanese people can feel reassured." PEOPLE WALKING
- Embargoed: 9th January 2020 06:06
- Keywords: 500.com Japan Liberal Democratic Party Tokyo bribery casino integrated resort lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA003BBM26O5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Japan plans to push ahead with its casino bid despite the arrest of a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker on suspicion accepting bribes from a potential project bidder, the country's chief government spokesman said on Thursday.
Tsukasa Akimoto on Wednesday (December 25) who was senior vice minister in the Cabinet Office until October 2018 and oversaw the government's policy on introducing casinos, is suspected of receiving 3 million yen ($27,500) in cash from three suspects, knowing their company wanted help with a casino bid, Tokyo prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said they also arrested the three suspects on suspicion of bribery. No one was available for comment at Akimoto's office. The lawmaker, whose office was raided by prosecutors last week, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. Following Akimoto's arrest, media has reported that prosecutors have been expanding their investigation into whether he accepted cash and gifts from 500.com, an online gambling operator based in China interested in developing a casino in Japan.
The arrest of a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's LDP could harden public opposition to casinos, which have been consistently unpopular despite the government's push to have them running by the early 2020s. Japan, which has a shrinking population and economy, is desperate to maintain growth in tourism, particularly after the Tokyo Olympics end next year.
(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai, Masako Iijima )
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