Gov’t eyes making pachinko less rewarding to tackle addiction

Officials at the National Police Agency said they are mulling a review of the current guidelines for implementing the entertainment industry law relating to the machines.

Ubiquitous throughout Japan, pachinko parlors contain machines into which users insert metal balls and receive a number of balls back based on a mixture of skill and luck. Accumulated balls are then traded for tokens, and in practice, monetary rewards.

Pachinko is classified as a form of entertainment rather than gambling, which is illegal except under a few limited circumstances.

But the phenomenon of problem gambling has come into the sights of the government and the public following heated debate over a law opening the door to the construction of casinos in Japan. The law was enacted last year, but further legislation is required to dictate how the casinos will operate.

Earlier Friday, a government panel compiled a list of issues for ministries and agencies to consider when formulating measures to combat problem gambling.

The health ministry also released Friday the results of a survey of men and women in 11 major urban centers, finding that 2.7 percent of them have likely experienced gambling addiction at some point in their lives. As a proportion of Japan’s population, that figure corresponds to roughly 2.8 million people.

Japanese authorities are considering making pachinko pinball-style gaming machines less rewarding as a measure to combat problem gambling, police officials said Friday. (Japan Today)

Police in Oita Prefecture, western Japan, say a knife-wielding man injured a boy and two women after he burst into a children’s daycare center. The man was later arrested. (NHK)

The Japanese government on Friday adopted a package of emergency measures to prevent young women from falling prey to sex crimes such as being forced to appear in porn videos. (Jiji)

Police searched a high school in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Friday over the deaths of eight people, including students, in an avalanche during mountaineering training. (Jiji)

The number of children on waiting lists for nursery schools satisfying state standards totaled 47,738 in Japan as of Oct. 1 last year, up 2,423 from a year before, the welfare ministry said Friday. (Jiji)

About one in three foreigners living in Japan have received discriminatory remarks in the past five years for being foreigners, a survey by Japan’s Justice Ministry showed Friday. (Jiji)

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in February fell 0.2 percentage points from the previous month to 2.8 percent, the lowest level since June 1994, when the rate stood at the same level, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Friday. (

Japan on Friday lifted its evacuation orders for the village of Iitate and two other areas that had been enforced due to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station in northeastern Japan. (Jiji)

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 25-year-old man employed by public broadcaster NHK to collect licensing fees for forcibly kissing a woman at an apartment in Chofu City, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (

A Chiba University medical student was found guilty Thursday of the gang rape of a woman with two of his classmates, while a doctor at the university hospital was convicted of indecent assault. (Japan Times)

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