The long journey towards opening the first official casino in the Land of the Rising Sun is filled with numerous bumps on the road. It’s a complicated process, and lawmakers in the country want to make sure that all goes well.
However, it seems that some of them weren’t exactly playing by the rules since a lawmaker from Japan was arrested recently. A member of the governing party was arrested for receiving a bribe from an online lottery firm from China called 500.com.
Just before Christmas, the authorities of Japan made an announcement that they had arrested Tsukasa Akimoto, who is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, as well as a member of the lower house. Earlier in December, authorities already stated that they suspected Akimoto had been involved in some kind of an illegal scheme, as he had brought large amounts of cash into the country without reporting it to customs officials.
On Dec. 25, the Tokyo District Publis Prosecutors Office made an announcement that Akimoto was officially under arrest. The prosecutors suspected that he had received approximately ¥3.7 million, which is about $34,000, from a Chinese company called simply 500.com.
Akimoto was working in an influential position and was one of the key people who can make a difference when it comes to building a resort near Hokkaido. The area was one of the potential places where one of the three integrated resorts could be built, and Akimoto received a bribe from a company that was one of the contenders for a license.
However, Japanese lawmakers haven’t been officially in the position for a few months, meaning he doesn’t have the power anymore to make an influence on the development process of casinos in Japan.
Akimoto Quits the Party?
Akimoto officially confirmed that he was arrested, but he refused to admit committing any wrongdoings when he was working in Hokkaido. He officially apologized to everyone for causing one such situation.
On the other hand, a local media outlet stated that Akimoto made a formal decision to quit the party before the arrest to avoid causing further embarrassment.
In other words, although he didn’t really admit to having received the bribe, his actions tell otherwise. Apart from Akimoto, the police also arrested three persons who are linked to the bribery scheme and who have connections with 500.com.
500.com is a company that has been struggling lately, as they mainly operated on the web. However, when China banned all online lottery sales, the company wanted to diversify its revenue streams, and Japan was one of the options for that.
Nevertheless, the methods they used to gain an advantage were rather scandalous, and the entire scandal is now threatening to further slow down the process of legalizing gambling in Japan. However, LDP is ready to push ahead and take a step forward towards the licensing process.
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