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Hachiro Okonogi, Chairperson of the Liberal Democratic Party’s National Public Safety Commission, has denied suggestions that Japan’s IR legislation could pave the way for legalised online gambling while promising to continue cracking down on any such illegal activity.

The question of online gambling was raised by Hiroyuki Moriyama of the Constitutional Democratic Party, who asked if there had been any change to the regulation of online gambling in Japan given an increase in the use of offshore gaming sites since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response, Okonogi said, “There are provisions on casino acts in the existing IR Development Act, but it does not include online casinos and they are not subject to this regulation. However, when I was asked at the Cabinet Committee last week, I answered that we would continue to take strict action as the police and Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission.”

Asked if further regulation was necessary, Okonogi added, “The reason online casinos are not subject to the ‘casino acts’ in the IR Development Act is because online casinos are illegal in the first place.

“There is precedent of online casinos being run in Japan, busted and tried in court.” Okonogi emphasised that crackdowns would continue and explained, “Continuing to come down on online casinos is the role of the police and Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission. The fact is that this does not fall under the jurisdiction of the IR Development Act or the minister in charge of the Casino Management Committee.”