Although the idea of casinos on Okinawa has been discussed for the past six years, the recent economic problems have increased the urgency of discussions. A panel discussion was held recently at the Okinawa Convention Center, during which proponents and opponents of the concept were able to speak.
The usual objections were raised by the anti-casino speakers-addiction, alcoholism and detrimental effects on children-mostly by the Board of Education and parent-teacher associations. Most speakers, however, admitted that they have never visited a casino, and therefore don’t know what they are really like.
Proponents of casinos started with the idea that the government should not be telling adults what to do.
“Okinawa should believe adults more. People are adults, and they know what they are doing,” said Professor Ichiro Tanioka of Osaka Commercial University. “We don’t think it’s a good idea to make limitations on entry to the games.”
Another professor disagreed.
“We think it is important to have limitations on entry,” said Professor Kazuhito Motoyama of Okinawa Women’s College, “especially for women and children. It’s a political concern.”
The host of the session, the Okinawa Prefecture, says it will continue to hold public forums so the public is aware of the facts about casino gaming.