Japanese Government Announces Casino Regulator Member Nominees
The government of Japan today revealed its nomination for head of the future casino management board, the regulatory body that will be tasked with overseeing the nation’s nascent casino industry and its participants.
Japanese lawmakers have chosen to nominate Michio Kitamura as the head of the soon-to-be established casino regulator. Mr. Kitamura previously served as inspector general of legal compliance at the Defense Ministry.
Legislators presented the nomination for head of the casino agency along with 31 other nominations for key roles at 12 public sector bodies to both chambers of the Japanese national parliament, the Diet.
The government expects that Mr. Kitamura’s nomination would be approved by the Diet during its current legislative session, which is set to run through December 9.
News emerged last month that the casino management board would be set up on January 7, 2020. It would include five members and their responsibilities would include overseeing security matters and conducting investigations and background checks of the operators that would be selected to build and operate Japan’s first integrated casino resorts.
The appointment of each of the five members of the regulator would need to be approved by the Diet. Members of the panel would serve five-year terms.
Panel Members Nominations
Aside from Mr. Kitamura, the government also nominated Hiroyuki Ujikane, the ex-chief of the Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau, psychiatrist Michiko Watari, Noriko Endo, professor at the graduate school at Keio University, and former Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department superintendent general Tateshi Higuchi.
According to experts, the five nominations for members of the casino panel could see some resistance from opposition parties.
Japan legalized casino gambling in December 2016 and last summer passed a legislation that outlined certain important aspects related to the establishment of the nation’s casino industry. The country’s government will issue up to three licenses for the development and operation of integrated resorts with dedicated casino gaming floors.
However, lawmakers are yet to determine where the properties will be located. And it will then be up to the selected host cities/prefectures to choose the preferred developers and operators of Japan’s first Las Vegas-style gaming resorts.
An important task before Japanese legislators is the publication of the government’s basic policy on integrated resorts. A draft version of that policy was released in September and its full version is expected to be published in early 2020. Among other things, the policy would include the central government’s criteria for selecting the places that would host Japan’s first casino resorts.
A total of eight cities and prefectures have expressed interest in participating in the IR host race, with those being Osaka, Yokohama, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Wakayama, Chiba, Nagasaki, and Nagoya. Up until recently, Osaka was considered the front-runner in that race, but after Yokohama announced its official bid to host a casino resort, a number of the international operators that had previously committed to Osaka directed their attention toward that later entry into the heated competition.
Source: Kitamura Nominated Head of Japan Govt Casino Management Board, Nippon
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