Abe Hints That Rules Of Contact With IR Operators May Be Incorporated Into Basic Policy

The rules of contact between IR operators and government officials are under consideration, according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in comments made at the lower house plenary session on Thursday.

Answering questions related to the recent bribery scandal involving six lower house representatives and Chinese gaming company 500.com, Abe said, “Gaining the public’s understanding with IR promotion is very important.

“The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is currently formulating a Basic Policy based on the IR Development Act in consultation with relevant ministries and agencies and are carefully drafting it based on the very unique Casino Administration Committee, launched this month, and in discussions with the Diet.

“We will consider incorporating these so-called rules of contact into the Basic Policy.”

Secretary-General Nobuyuki Baba of the Osaka-based Japan Innovation Party added, “The Osaka IR Promotion Office has already established and strictly applies guidelines for dealing with operators, the contents of which include that meetings with operators are in principal to occur in government buildings, that operators may not meet with individual government officials, that personal calls and emails with operators are prohibited, and that when a request from an operator is received a record will be created and these will be published regularly.

“These guidelines ensure fairness and impartiality. Allegations of bribery and IR promotion are completely different issues and the government should continue to make the necessary preparations.

“The guidelines for handling IR operators should be as strict as they are in Osaka for the rest of the country.”

The government last week postponed finalization and publication of the Basic Policy governing Japan’s casinos until next month. However, Abe said there has been no change to the planned schedule for accepting IR applications from local governments, set to take place between January and July 2021.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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