Tourism body to have say in IR regulation

Separately from the Casino Management Board, local governments and operators of IRs in Japan are also going to have to answer to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), according to reports in the Japanese media.

Local hosts of IRs are to made responsible for achieving positive results in terms of promoting tourism and contributing to regional economies. Prefectural governments will be obliged to report each fiscal year’s results to MLIT, and these annual reports will be made public.

If an IR is found to be underperforming, MLIT will be empowered to conduct on-site inspections and, if necessary, issue business improvement orders. If such orders are not obeyed, in the most extreme cases local governments can lose their IR certifications.

The Casino Management Board will have similar powers of oversight for IRs, though their mandate will be focused on the casino element of IRs, including measures for dealing with financial crimes and gaming operations. This organization is yet to be created, but is envisioned as an external bureau of the Cabinet Office.

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The prospects for a Yokohama bid to locate an IR at the city’s Yamashita Pier took a heavy blow last week when the Yokohama Harbor Transport Association declared its opposition to a casino.

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As the city of Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, takes its first steps toward a possible bid to locate an IR on Chubu Airport Island, the strongly anti-casino Japan Communist Party has begun mobilizing its local forces in opposition.

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Executives of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito have agreed that the next Diet session will prioritize passage of a gambling anti-addiction bill before moving on to the IR Implementation Bill.

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The establishment of an IR in a major urban city such as Yokohama could spark a profound transformation of Japan’s hotel industry, according to a key observer of the market.

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At least ten major IR operators have signalled key interest in the city of Tomakomai, according to the Tomakomai Minpo, a local newspaper.

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The Japanese government is considering allowing the sale of all lottery tickets types over the internet starting fiscal 2018.