A Japanese ruling party lawmaker has been arrested by prosecutors on charges of taking bribes from a Chinese company in connection with the complex resort project that includes 우리카지노.
It is the first time in nine years and 11 months that an incumbent Japanese lawmaker has been arrested since Tomohiro Ishikawa, a member of the House of Representatives who was accused of violating the Political Funds Act, in January 2010.
Shinzo Abe's administration has been pushing the complex resort project as one of its growth strategies, which is expected to deal another blow to the Abe administration, whose approval ratings have been declining due to the "cherry blossom scandal."
The Tokyo District Prosecutors' Office arrested Tsukasa Akimoto, 48, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, on charges of receiving 3 million yen (about 31.9 million won) in cash from Chinese online lottery and casino company "500.COM," which showed interest in the complex resort project.
Akimoto took bribes in September 2017, when he was in charge of the complex resort project as deputy minister of the Cabinet and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
He is also suspected of having traveled to Hokkaido at the invitation of the Chinese company in February last year, and having pocketed about 700,000 yen worth of illicit profits from air and hotel expenses.
In December 2017, Akimoto visited the headquarters of "500.COM" in Shenzhen, China, to meet with management, and in February last year, he visited the Hokkaido Lusatsu area, which had pushed for the complex resort project, and also met with Hokkaido officials.
In August 2017, "500.COM" also pushed for investment in the Russo-area after saying it was considering entering the Japanese complex resort business during a symposium in Nahashi, Okanawa Prefecture.
At the heart of the complex resort project lies in casinos that allow even locals to enter. Despite criticism that it encourages gambling, the Abe administration pushed ahead with the complex resort project as one of its growth strategies and passed a bill to implement the complex resort in July last year.
At the time, the opposition Democratic Party of Korea and others opposed the bill's passage by even submitting a bill against the Cabinet, but the ruling party railroaded it.
As Japan lifted its casino business, global casino companies, including the U.S.-based MGM Resort International, rushed to express their intention to enter Japan.
Akimoto tweeted, "I've never been involved in any irregularities." However, he left the Liberal Democratic Party on Saturday, and the Liberal Democratic Party immediately accepted it. It appears to be trying to prevent the repercussions of the incident from expanding to the entire regime.
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