• SHARE

OSAKA — Local convention and tourism officials said Wednesday they would welcome the chance to build casinos here should the central government decide to legalize gambling.

It would be a positive development if “legal restrictions on casino gambling were lifted,” said Masaaki Sugita, managing director of marketing at the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau.

Sugita’s comments came about a week after Osaka Gov. Fusae Ohta met with Land, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Chikage Oki to promote the idea of opening a casino in Kansai International Airport exclusively for foreign visitors.

Many in the local community, however, oppose casino gambling. Top officials at the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, including Chairman Wa Tashiro, have expressed doubts that casinos could be managed safely and effectively.

Speaking to foreign diplomats and business professionals in the Kansai area at the Osaka International Forum, Sugita outlined the city’s tourist attractions, which range from Osaka Castle to — dumplings with octopus filling.

In order to make such attractions better known abroad, Sugita said his bureau plans promotional trips to other Asian countries, including China and Taiwan, later this year.