• Kyodo


Six local governments may tax betting proceeds from horse races organized by the state-run Japan Racing Association even though a similar proposal from Yokohama was rejected by the central government last month, according to the results of a Kyodo News survey.

According to the survey conducted between April 16 and 20, the bodies considering the tax are the village of Nishigo in Fukushima Prefecture, the city of Osaka, and Tokyo’s Chuo, Shinjuku, Bunkyo and Sumida wards. All 33 local governments with racetracks or off-track betting booths in their jurisdictions responded to the survey.

On Wednesday, the Yokohama Municipal Government asked an arbitration committee in charge of settling disputes between the central and local governments to review the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry’s decision March 30 to reject the proposal.

In its decision, the ministry said the tax, the first targeting the JRA, could “hamper national economic policy.”

The government’s decision drew attention because the tax, approved by the Yokohama Municipal Assembly in an ordinance in December, was the first put forward under relaxed guidelines for new local taxes introduced by the central government.

A new law requires that the central government approve new local taxes as long as they do not hamper national economic policy, burden citizens with double taxation, or disrupt transport or distribution.

The Yokohama ordinance calls for a 5 percent tax on ticket sales at two off-track betting booths in the port city. The tax would be levied on sales after payments by the JRA to the central government are subtracted.

Meanwhile, Toyosaka in Niigata Prefecture, Hiroshima and Tachikawa in western Tokyo said they have considered such a tax in the past.

The three cities, however, said they have suspended discussions until the matter is reviewed by the arbitration committee.

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