The Federation of Consumer Goods Industries & Consumer Associations, known as “Seidanren” in Japanese, issued a statement on Monday opposing the legalization of casinos.
Seidanren consists of 553 companies and associations with the stated purpose of securing items like clothing, food, and housing that are essential for Japanese to live stable lives. They felt compelled to weigh in on the ongoing casino debate, explaining, “This is not an issue that is limited to those areas considering becoming hosts, but it is a matter that impinges upon the survival of the Japanese nation as a whole.”
Seidanren’s broad argument is that becoming a casino nation will only serve to cheapen Japan and will make it less respected in terms of the high culture that Japanese have developed over the centuries.
“Our country possesses the beauty of nature,” they write, “and we have history and traditions and culture that are our pride within the world.”
Japan is not an impoverished nation with few resources, so the promotion of tourism should not be based on the same kind of strategies that might be apt for lesser countries. Instead, they argue, Japan needs to develop its own unique approaches to tourism promotion.
Seidanren also contends that the regional areas of the country which are now viewing casinos as their possible means for enrichment will ultimately find their hopes betrayed, with most of the profits instead accruing to foreign operators. They state that casinos are not a sustainable approach to regional development. “The true fans of our country searching for its charm will find it in their interactions with the local people.”
Finally, Seidanren also states, as do some Japanese medical associations, that the “most worrisome issue” is the corrupting effect that the presence of IRs may have upon the sound development of Japanese youth, and thus the future of the nation.
“Although there are now a lot of discussions about the negative social effects of gambling addiction, there is no one who can show evidence about the effectiveness of the countermeasures.”
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