On Wednesday, Japan authorities arrested Tsukasa Akimoto, a member of the Japanese ruling party on suspicion of accepting bribes from a Chinese online lottery firm 500.com.
This was the worst Christmas news in Japan as the authority announced the arrest of Akimoto, a Lower House member of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Earlier in December, Akimoto aides were accused of bringing a considerable amount of cash from unknown oversee sources.
Tokyo Public Prosecutor Office alleged that Akimoto arrest was due $34,000 that he received from 500.com at the time Hokkaido was pursuing an integrated resort. Akimoto confirmed his arrest on Twitter, apologizing for the disturbance, but insisted he was innocent. According to a local media, Akimoto also vowed to resign from his party due to the embarrassment.
According to Casino.org, three other people were arrested in connection to the bribery. The Chinese lottery 500.com is said to have also paid Akimoto air ticket in 2018 to Shenzhen and Macau. 500.com has been struggling financially since 2015 after China suspended all online lottery. The Hokkaido resort bid was meant to diversify its revenue sources.
There were concerns that the scandal could negatively impact the integrated resorts plan, but politicians including Chief Cabinet Secretary have affirmed that the plans will not be hindered.