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Business group pushes for Okinawa gambling casino

Date Posted: 2004-01-15

A business association called “The Okinawa Economic Friendship Committee” is calling for a speedy realization of a gambling casino to the prefecture. The association members are some of the largest business groups on the island, and they have calculated that establishing a gambling casino here would bring considerable economic benefits to the prefecture.

The association proposes to open the casino in 2006. According to the association’s calculations, the casino would create Y91 billion in income. The tax revenue to the prefecture’s coffers would increase by 36.4 billion. They also estimate that the casino would create some 13,000 jobs in the prefecture directly, and indirectly would reduce the jobless rate by two percentage points.

Association Chairman Koichi Kokuba says the ever-increasing flow of tourists to the prefecture makes the casino a necessity. “As the number of tourists increases we need to create a new plan for them. During daytime there are sightseeing, ocean and beaches, but there are not enough night time activities available,” Kokuba said.

Isao Oshiro, an association director, says the casino should be a real eye catcher. “We should construct the casino within a luxury class resort, and only adults over 20 years of age should be allowed to the premises,” Oshiro believes.

The association has its work cut out for them. The fiercest opposition to legalized gambling comes from PTAs and Teachers’ Unions on the island, who see the casino as yet another business that attracts prefecture’s youth to bad habits.

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