After years of holding talks on having a casino regulatory panel, Japan showed more seriousness on the issue last year. The government last month had announced on forming a casino management committee by January 2020.

The announcement saw aspiring casino operators enter into a frantic background check of the proposed names of individuals expected to be on the country’s gambling regulatory body.

Media reports on Wednesday announced the nomination of Michio Kitamura as the chairman of the casino management committee. If appointed, Kitamura would be an overseer of Japan’s Integrated Resorts.

According to, the 67-year old was the Inspector General of legal compliance under the country’s Ministry of defense.

Kitamura had also worked at the High Prosecutor’s office in both Fukuoa and Sendai.

Apart from the chairman, other four nominees have been named by the media. These include; Hiroyuki Ujikane who is a regional taxman, Noriko Endo a professor at Keio University, Michiko Watari a psychiatrist and Tateshi Higuchi who was formerly Toyko police’s superintendent.

With all the nominated names, Japan’s government looks forward to having them approved however there may be oppositions. According to Jiji press, opposition parties are likely to stir up some disapproval though the media company does not specify the reason for such a move.

Just to speculate, the opposition party may have other individuals in mind that they feel fit for the job. In that case, negotiations may be conducted where the two sides agree on which individuals should be appointed at the end of the vetting process.

Whatever the outcome, the nominated members who will be appointed as the gambling committee members will be tasked to vet the applications for the Integrated Resorts licenses. Out of all the applicants, the committee is expected to settle on a maximum of three.

With the many aspiring casino operators, the committee will not have an easy time doing the sorting. Currently, Japan’s casino market has shown potential thus attracting not only major gaming titles but also new faces in the sector.

The ongoing nomination process has proved Japan’s seriousness in regulating the gambling market since 2018 when the legislative finish line was drawn.

The legislative session will run through December 9th and the government hopes to win all the five nominations. Meanwhile, the government is planning on the release of the basic policy that would be used to screen gambling licenses come July 2020.

Japan’s government is keen to protect gamblers from unscrupulous operators which is why the push for a regulatory body has come this far. As for the operators, fear that the entry cost would be too expensive to start out in the industry is already looming.

Initially, operators had vied against themselves to find out which of the parties would get through the screening process. However, some of the major players are of the opinion that cost of entry could be too high for them. This they considered owing to the fact that local residents will face restrictions in accessing casino gambling.

Kadin Taim is a web journalist and news enthusiast. He has been writing about casinos, politics and technology. An avid casino enthusiast, Kadin has done his Masters in Finance and Bachelors in Journalism.
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