The boy-wonder mayor of Osaka City is getting really loose these days, after his party's sizeable win in the December Lower House election and a lot of national media attention has been given to him and his party since the election.
The boy-wonder wants to build and run a casino in Osaka, and he has been preaching the virtue of gambling to the willing audience of national politicians for years now.
Here's from Asahi Shinbun in 2010, when the boy-wonder was still the governor of Osaka Prefecture (10/28/2010):
On October 28, 2010, Governor of Osaka Toru Hashimoto attended the conference of the "Gambling & Gaming Society" which invited the Diet politicians who want to legalize casinos in Japan. Governor Hashimoto urged the politicians to legalize casinos by saying "By removing gambling from our daily lives, we have become a nation of the well-groomed and naive. We have to make an assiduous effort to master gambling from early age so that every Japanese citizen becomes a gambler. Please pass this Casino Bill."
The conference of the Society was held at a hotel in Tokyo, attended by a non-partisan group of politicians in the National Diet called "Parliamentary Group for the Promotion of International Tourism Industry (Casino Group)". Kazunari Koga (DPJ), chairman of the group, said at the conference that he would like to submit the Casino Bill in the next year's ordinary session of the Diet.
Governor Hashimoto wants to attract a resort facility that includes casinos in Osaka Prefecture. He said, "Casino, not tax increase. I will use part of the proceeds for education, welfare and medical care. I'll ignore if the governor of Hyogo Prefecture is against it. Everything that's vulgar, Osaka will take it."
Early 2011 was not a good time for submitting the Casino Bill, with the Magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami hitting Tohoku and eastern Japan in the middle of the ordinary session of the Diet. The boy-wonder himself submitted the bill on January 26, 2013. Even though he himself is not a Diet member, he is the co-chair of his Japan Restoration Party.
Politicians and consultants are salivating at the prospect of the Bill actually passing. Here's Mr. Takahiro Suzuki, a Tokyo University physics graduate and former BCG consultant, excited about legalizing gambling in Japan so that Japan can become like Macao:
What's important is to expand the economy, and casinos are the means. ... Unless it is a national project, there is no point in legalizing casinos in Japan.
"National projects" in Japan used to be huge dams, nuclear power plants, infrastructure building for 1964 Tokyo Olympics, super-computers, mercantilistic policy supports for export industries.
Now these politicians wants to make gambling a national project.
Osaka has never been a refined place like Kyoto. It was a dynamic place of commerce for risk-taking, entrepreneurial merchants and industrialists who bet their own money and fortune. Now the boy-wonder wants to lead the nation by having a government-run gambling den in Osaka.
Even in the Edo era with loose morals, gambling was prohibited. Some Osaka residents now firmly believe the boy-wonder wants to destroy Osaka.
Here's one of the gambling stocks, Oizumi, from Nikkei Shinbun. The huge white candle in late January is when the Casino Bill was submitted by the boy-wonder. 50% jump in share price in less than one month. Not bad.