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This week’s featured article

JIJI

The government’s Casino Regulatory Commission held its first meeting Friday against the backdrop of a high-profile bribery scandal related to so-called integrated resorts featuring casinos.

At the closed-door meeting, the five members of the commission, including its head, Michio Kitamura, former chief of the Fukuoka High Public Prosecutor’s Office, discussed rules regulating its operations. It will also work on drawing up regulations on resort operators.

“The members of the commission and staff of its secretariat will unite and work with a sense of urgency to build trust with the public over casino business,” Kitamura said at a news conference after the meeting. He also stressed the commission’s resolve to deal appropriately with casino-related concerns among the public, such as gambling addiction and a potential rise in crime.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office’s special investigation squad is investigating the scandal in which Tsukasa Akimoto, a lawmaker and ex-Cabinet Office state minister for the government’s project to launch casino resorts, has been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes from a Chinese company that was planning to open a resort in Japan.

While the government plans to move forward with the casino initiative, opposition parties are expected to submit a bill to scrap a related law to the regular session of the Diet that starts on Jan. 20.

“I plan to supervise our staff at the secretariat so that the commission’s fairness and neutrality will not be questioned,” Kitamura said.

The commission, affiliated with the Cabinet Office, was established last Tuesday.

Like the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the commission has independent authority, being able to issue licenses necessary to run casinos in Japan and cancel the licenses if irregularities are found.

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 11.

Warm up

One minute chat about scandal.

Game

Collect words related to casinos,

e.g: gamble, money, addiction, bet.

New words

1) backdrop: the setting or conditions in which something happens, e.g., “The doping scandal took place against the backdrop of the Pyeongchang Olympics.”

2) secretariat: the administrative department of a governmental organization, e.g., “The United Nations secretariat saw to the planning.”

3) squad: a small group in charge of a task, e.g., “The squad was responsible for kiling Osama Bin Laden.”

Guess the headline

Japan’s Casino R_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Commission holds first meeting amid b_ _ _ _ _ _ scandal

Questions

1) What was the scandal?

2) What concerns are casinos causing?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Have you ever been to a casino?

2) Do you think Japan should have casinos?

Reference

どこか遠い別世界のような印象を多くの日本人が持っていたであろうカジノの解禁が現実的になってくる中、世間を騒がせたスキャンダルは推進派にとって大きな打撃となったことでしょう。しかし、これを受けて議論を後退させるのではなく、あくまで解禁に向けていかに国民の理解を得るかということが現在の論点のようです。カジノによって私たちの生活には変化が生まれるでしょうか。もしそうだとすれば、私たちはカジノにどのような変化を期待するでしょうか。朝英語の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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