Friday August 22,2014 : JAPANESE CONCERNS OVER PROBLEM GAMBLING
Are the Japanese more susceptible to compulsive gambling?
With momentum increasing in Japan for the introduction of land casino resorts, concerns are rising on the dangers of problem gambling following a study by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The publication Japan Today reports that the study found that around 5 percent of the population – about 5 million individuals – "may be addicted to gambling", although the criteria used to establish what constitutes a problem gambler in the study is not completely clear.
If the 5 percent estimate is accurate, it is worrying when compared with international statistics of around 1 to 2 percent…that would suggest that Japanese are more susceptible to the dangers of compulsive gambling than other nations.
Gambling is currently illegal in Japan, although pachinko parlours, which feature electronic games similar to pinball machines for non-cash prizes, are extremely popular.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare study is the first to assess the potential for problem gambling in Japan, and was led by Susumu Higuchi, director of the National Hospital Organisation Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center.
Higuchi says there should be more discussion on the possible introduction of legal casino gambling in his country due to the potential danger of large numbers of problem gamblers.
The research team reports that it interviewed a sample of 4,153 adults nationwide chosen on a random basis, and conducted research on gambling and Internet addiction based on international standards.
It concluded that 4.38 million men, accounting for 8.7 percent, and 980,000 women, or 1.8 percent, could be suffering from gambling problems, totaling 5.36 million people or 4.8 percent of the adult population in the country.