For quite some time, an ongoing effort to bring integrated resorts (IR) to Japan has hit several obstacles. Some are expected in the current environment, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Others, not so much. As the casino effort moved forward, it was found that some lawmakers were acting outside of the law in order to gain something from those who want to offer services in the region. Tsukasa Akimoto is a member of the country’s House of Representatives who has already been charged with bribery involving the IRs and now he faces even more illegal activity charges.
What’s the Deal?
Akimoto was previous found by police to have accepted bribes from 500.com. In exchange for the money, Akimoto was to help the company have the upper hand when it came to the IR projects developing in Japan. The lawmaker was directly involved in the IR process so he was able to use his influence in 500.com’s favor.
Now, it seems that Akimoto is at it again. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has stated that Akimoto has tried to pay people off so they will provide false testimony in his case. He was trying to ensure that the charges against him don’t stick.
A supporter of Akimoto, Akihito Awaji, was arrested in early July, as it was reported he too bribed people for testimony.
Because of the unethical activity, the project of IR facilities is now facing even more scrutiny. Policy needs are on hold due to other, more pressing needs stemming from the coronavirus, such as stabilizing the country. Major companies that were once interested in licensing for an IR, like the Las Vegas Sands, are no longer interested.
A local group, the Nagasaki Medical Practitioners Association, sent a letter to Governor Hodo Nakamura, of Nagasaki, to request that IR efforts be put on hold. Nagasaki is one of three regions being considered for the project. The group feels that Japan needs to focus on the welfare of citizens instead.