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Casino plans merits, demerits discussed

Date Posted: 2001-11-02

A symposium was held at Palette Kumoji Citizen’s Theater in Naha on Sunday to discuss the viability of establishing a gaming casino to Okinawa. Two panelists from each side of the debate stated their opinions for the first time to be discussed in public. There were about two hundred attendants who also vigorously expressed their ideas about casino gaming.

At first, Sachiko Chibana representing the side opposing the plan said in her opening statement that the symposium is a good opportunity to discuss the merits and demerits of the idea, and what are the problems associated with the casino. She was followed by Koichiro Kokuba who is a supporter of the casino plan who said that tourism, the prefecture’s lifeline, is vulnerable if the situation stays as it is now, and emphasized that Okinawa needs a theme park facility including casino in order to attract a steady flow of tourists.

Overall, those who opposed the plan were worried that a casino would transform Okinawa into an island of gambling. Instead, they stated Okinawa should look for its reputation of being a healthy and healing island. On the other hand, those who are for casino said it could offer an extraordinary opportunity to diversify Okinawa’s visitor base. That is a goal that everyone could agree with.

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