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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government hopes casino tourism can help boost a lackluster economy hamstrung by a shrinking, aging workforce. Japan aims to attract an annual 60 million visitors by 2030, up 88% from 2019.  (© Nikkei montage/Source photo by Getty Images)
Asia Insight

Japan's casino bribery scandal deals Abe a tough hand

Rising public opposition jeopardizes hopes for resorts in three cities

ERI SUGIURA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

YOKOHAMA -- A few hundred meters from the constituency office of Japan's top government spokesman, a group of about 150 Yokohama residents braved the rain to protest against ambitions to build a casino in the city.

The demonstrators called on Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, to "immediately scrap" the plan. "Gambling will mean the extortion of money from the people of Yokohama and the people of Japan," group member Masatoshi Goto shouted into a microphone at a crowd holding "No! Casino" placards. "We can't allow this!"

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