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Prosecutors raid Chinese firm in possible connection with IR bid

The special investigation unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office raided the Tokyo offices of a Shenzhen-based lottery operator, as well as the homes of former policy aides of a senior ruling politician who had been in charge of IR policy, apparently in connection with the illegal import into Japan of a large sum of money.

The Chinese firm was identified as having pursued IR projects in Okinawa and in Rusutsu village, Hokkaido.

The ruling party lawmaker whose former aides’ homes were searched is Tsukasa Akimoto, who had been overseeing IR projects as a state minister for the Cabinet Office from August 2017 to September 2019.

Asia Gaming Brief reported in August 2017 about the participation of Akimoto in a press conference in Okinawa promoting an IR initiative by a Shenzhen-based lottery firm.

At present, operatives of this firm are suspected of bringing tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash into Japan from abroad in violation of the Foreign Exchange Act, apparently with the connivance of the lawmaker’s former aides.

Both the Okinawa and Rusutsu IR bids failed due to a lack of political support from their respective prefectural governments.

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