There is more to the Japanese casino bribery case than the ruling party lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto’s arrest and the raids that followed.
The Japan Times reports that other lawmakers are also under the purview of the investigations that lead to Akimoto’s arrest last week.
The newspaper reports that “ an adviser to a Chinese gambling operator, which is under investigation for allegedly bribing Japanese lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto over a casino resort project, has told investigators that the company also gave cash to another five lawmakers.”
It is reported that Katsunori Nakazato, the adviser to 500.com Ltd., has told the investigating officers that it was he who had given ¥1 million ($9,200) each to the five lawmakers around September 2017.
This was around the same time when Akimoto was bribed for favors in the licensing process.
Akimoto was arrested following an investigation. He was the minister of state in charge of monitoring the government policies related to Japan’s prospective casino gambling industry.
Quoting unconfirmed sources, the Japan Times reports that “some of the five lawmakers who are said to have received the bribe belong to a cross-party group of lawmakers dedicated to promoting international tourism.”
Government Says It Will Not Change Its Plans
While Akimoto has resigned from his position, the government has said that his arrest will not deter its plans to develop casinos in the country. The opposition has launched a campaign demanding that the casinos be banned and that the government drops its gambling expansion plans.
Japan is poised to launch integrated casino resorts following the approval of the gambling expansion plans. In the first phase, Japan will have three casinos. According to analysts the Japanese casino gambling market would be the third-largest in the world and would generate annual revenue between $8 million to 10 million.