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Many pachinko parlors stay open despite state of emergency

79 Comments
By Hideto Sakai and Jack Tarrant

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79 Comments
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Pachinko is addictive. I love watching the balls fall, over and over. Hypnotic. A friend had a machine at home and we'd play for hours, wasting time in summer.

Everything else related to Pachinko Parlors are not for me. I can see how someone addicted would have a terrible time not smoking, not gambling and not watching those balls drop. But for public health reasons, they should be closed, just like bars, and other social clubs should be closed while this problem exists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With schools closed it seems illogical pachinko is open.

On the other hand I am pleased to live in a country that cannot forcibly close industries.

If my customers wanted to come and the financial benefit greatly outweighed the bad publicity I am not sure what I would do.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let them in and lock the doors behind them

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan passes South Korea for coronavirus cases

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1048/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Funny that the predominantly Zainichi owned pachinko parlours should be targeted in the press. What of the myriad other non-essential businesses that remain open? Hairdressers, flower shops, real estate agents, to name a few, all remain open for business where I live.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Close the pachinko parlours and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea will collapse!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The image of pachinko parlors in Japan = Koreans in Japan running them.

There are also rumors that it has become a source of funds for the Korean Confederation, which sends money to North Korea.

That's why many right-wingers in Japan don't like pachinko parlors.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

theResident: "Actually Mirai - Pachinko IS owned mostly by ethinic Koreans."

Ah, so it's South Korea's fault. Typical.

"Thats a very naive comment."

Says the guy blaming South Korea for the Japanese government's inability to act. But hey, theRes... they did it, just now. I didn't think the Japanese government had it in them, but they actually did it -- Osaka Prefecture just took the extraordinary and historical step of... making an announcement. Mark this point in history, folks! The pachinko owners have nothing they can do but perhaps hear of the announcement somewhere.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@drlucifer: Not true. You can still be a very, very high taxpayer and 'dodge' tax. Numerous loopholes. Thats a very naive comment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Government gets more in taxes from Pachinko than from entire car industry. I hope that explains why they are not clamping down.

Not true, pachinko owners and doctors with private clinics have been known for years as the two biggest tax dodgers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Closing for a week ?

While the virus can take up to 9-10 days to show up?

How ludicrous !

Since not everyshop and activity place will not be shut down, you will end up with people in very crowded places from all over Japan.

Jackpot !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Family Mart seems to think one meter is an appropriate distance between people. I wonder why it’s two meters in the CDC’s website.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan Productivity Center, which compiles statistics on the leisure sector.

Kind of odd...productivity and Pachinko? I couldn't think of anything else less productive. Even watching clothes dry is more productive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can confirm it, wide open, doors all open.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thick layers of tobacco smoke. Noise pollution. Tonnes of lost money. People fueling their addiction to gambling. What's not to love about pachiko parlours?

Guess you havent been following along here too much recently huh? Pachinko parlors are now, by law, all smoke-free!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So they'll go home and spread it to their families. Really bad news

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thick layers of tobacco smoke. Noise pollution. Tonnes of lost money. People fueling their addiction to gambling. What's not to love about pachiko parlours?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Too much money going to government officials....I'm sure Abe is connected in a way too....Just like not wanting to stop the Chinese from visiting Japan back when he should of shut down the influx"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Addicts. They won’t stop going unless the Pachinko parlours are closed down.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Osaka Governor is on tv now doing a soft version of "naming and shaming" 6 pachinko establishments that are open.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"We would like to consider a next step against pachinko parlors that do not comply, such as a public announcement,"

HAHAHAHahahahaha... I'm sure they'll listen, buddy. They'll be right scared by a public announcement (they won't be able to hear it with the volume of the machines they continue to power and play) and follow tout de suite. And then when they fail to listen to the announcement, what? a sign in English?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The pachinko industry is really murky.

While flouting the gambling law and ties to North Korea it seems to be above the law.

I remember after 3/11 when we had to practice power saving especially in the Summer when it became really hot and humid.While we had to endure not very cool rooms at all and having a third of the light bulbs being removed in public places the pachinko parlors were allowed to operate at full blast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, because the founder of the pachinko industry is a North Korean resident in Japan in the first place.

There is also money flowing into North Korea.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Also Mirai- Its because of people like YOU - that many ethnic Koreans choose to use Japanese names to avoid people like you. I'll say no more.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mirai - No, not all of them. But the majority, and many of them use Japanese names in any case. As did my wife - from the day she entered Kindergarten. The only time she used her Korean name was for international Travel. Buddy - I saw a lot go on when I was with her. The 3am 'change' of machines - all sorts. Don't go there with something you actually know a little about.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Certainly this is not a country and society where people are afraid to do as they please, for fear of standing out against the grain and avoiding confrontation."

Yeah right, me thinks confusing addiction to gambling with ability to stand up to authority & individualism doesnt count ...but...uhm ok then...Nihon sugoooi!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

According to Wikipedia over 80% of Pachinko Parlor are ethnic Korean.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

theResidentToday

Actually Mirai - Pachinko IS owned mostly by ethinic Koreans.

Not all of them. I actually personally know a few pachinko owners who are long time friends with the family. They are not ethnic Koreans, and lean towards the Yakuza-side. They also have a lot of connections with government officials..this is how I know.

Yaburu

You seem to want the government to have the authority to shut these places down. Ok, what's next? You seem to want to give them the authority to do whatever they wish to stop the spread of the virus.

The gov already has the means to shut them down. They can cite a public health and safety hazard and take away their operating license (業務停止命令)and or fine them heavily for not complying. The SOE was very clear. Only essential businesses to be allowed to stay open. When you tell me what part of pachinko is essential, we can continue this discussion.

Have you been to central Tokyo locations like Shinjuku or Shibuya? Many establishments are cesspools of rodent and roach activity

Hence I said that it doesn't seem to be a problem in Japan to operate under those conditions, but under normal circumstances, infestation should be a grounds for closure.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Self-healing bandage. If the second hand smoke doesn't get them, CV-19 will.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And I'm not allowed to go surfing at an uncrowded beach, in the open outdoors, where the nearest person next to me is over 10 meters away?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

it's useless complaining about these types of places, do you think they , the business cares if you live or die, all they want is your money, they don't care about you or their employees.

as long as money comes in, they really don't care about people dying.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What is actually happening here is people are picking on an activity that they don't personally like, or think is immoral. Those are reasons for campaigning to close down pachinko full-stop, but don't really hold water regarding the coronoavirus.

It's along the lines as well as the people who state that the majority of those who have gotten seriously ill or died from this virus as being somehow "guilty" for having a some condition that made them vulnerable in the first place.

Folks want to impress there own morals on society, yet overlook the forest in their own eyes!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pachinko is just a business, same as all the other ones. I don't like it, have no interest in it, but think they should be subject only to the same rules as every other business. At the moment that means a REQUEST to please close, with no apparent sanctions for not complying.

A cycle around my Tokyo neighborhood at around 6:30pm last night showed around 60% of izakayas and other food establishments open, and all of the open ones at street level had customers (albeit fewer than usual). None of these are essential services, and all require the gathering of unconnected people in enclosed spaces for extended periods of time. So why the bashing of pachinko? There is no point in closing pachinko down if we're not also going to close down similar, far more prevalent forms of gathering.

What is actually happening here is people are picking on an activity that they don't personally like, or think is immoral. Those are reasons for campaigning to close down pachinko full-stop, but don't really hold water regarding the coronoavirus.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So, there's a virus going round and the government wants to stop it spreading. Parks are closed, but pachinko parlors are open. People are asked to stay indoors during their free time, but squeeze onto crowded commuter trains and go to their workplaces during the week. None of this makes any sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The laws were put in place so that there is no government overreach or threat of tyranny, which I agree with. But these aren't normal times. If the private industries cannot exercise self control and comply with government guidelines, then they should be shut down.

I get it, but, consider what you are saying here. You seem to want the government to have the authority to shut these places down. Ok, what's next? You seem to want to give them the authority to do whatever they wish to stop the spread of the virus.

Once you give them that power, you think they will give it back?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And this is how other news outlets describe the "pachinko situation":

*"Japan’s Gamblers Are Ignoring Abe’s Toothless Emergency Order"*

Got to love that word! I hope that those places will be shut down, the sooner, the better!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

FYI, down here in Okinawa, in response to the request by the prefectural government all 75 pachinko parlors in the prefecture will be closed from today until May 6th.

So, like I said, if there is a will, there is a way!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is outright unreal that they would be stupid enough to let these remain open or that anyone would be dumb enough to go!!!!!

I know gambling is an addition but come on....

This is one place where the government needs to take the lead and close these things.

Truly mind boggling.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just ask people to visit pachinko every 3 days. Problem solved!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The largest maker of the pachinko machines is an ethnic North Korean.

His business is a major contributor to NK’s foreign currency income.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Actually Mirai - Pachinko IS owned mostly by ethinic Koreans. My first wifes Father owned several Parlours both here in Eastern Tokyo and also in Hiroshima. He was very very firmly in the South Korean camp who whllst they do of course have ties to the Yakuza - the ties are not nearly as strong as those that are owned by those with North Korean affiliation who rely heavily on the Yakiza to launder their cash so it can even reach North Korea. Please don't generalise.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Pachinko dens are mostly owned by Chinese and Koreans.

Why Japanese support these businesses is beyond me.

Considering China started this pandemic.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I remember Prime Minister Naoto Kan exclaiming “this is the end of Japan“ when the Fukushima nuclear reactors were melting down. Now the rest of the world is hunkered down and all bars. restaurants and nonessential activities are closed in developed countries. In the meantime, the bars, restaurants, cinemas and pachinko parlors are still open in Japan. Japanese citizens will pay the price for incompetent leadership. Zannen desu ne.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Mirai Hayashi

For example, what if a restaurant has pest infestation problem (rats or roaches -although in Japan that doesn't really seem to be a problem either). 

Have you been to central Tokyo locations like Shinjuku or Shibuya? Many establishments are cesspools of rodent and roach activity. Personally seen loads of cockroaches and, Shibuya is famous for being rat ridden. Maybe in your part of Japan is very hygienic?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Really, really bad optics for the Olympic City.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They closed pachinko parlors in Osaka so all of those people ventured out to neighboring prefectures to get their fix. Now those prefectures are taking action. Same goes with shopping malls.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ok, I agree about getting back to normal, but and according to the current laws here, what do you expect the authorities to do, without breaking the law?

The laws were put in place so that there is no government overreach or threat of tyranny, which I agree with. But these aren't normal times. If the private industries cannot exercise self control and comply with government guidelines, then they should be shut down.

For example, what if a restaurant has pest infestation problem (rats or roaches -although in Japan that doesn't really seem to be a problem either). NORMALLY, the health department would shut them down to ensure public safety. Why is this any different? There is a highly contagious virus going around that is a threat to public safety. The government has requested that they shut down temporarily to comply with the SOE, but they are no cooperating. If the current law doesn't not allow them to forcibly shut them down, then they should temporarily suspend their business licenses on the grounds of threat to public safety.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As Mocheake indicated - many of these establishments do have links to the NK world.

Pachinko remissions have been a source of hard "legit" capital over the decades for the regime. This has been well documented.

And as others noted organized crime has a fat finger in the pie and "pay-offs & gifts" to local authorities is not rare. In addition this all "protected" by retired police officers often working as the clerks in the teddy-bear-redeemed-for-cash hole in the walls next to the parlours.

And yes - there are some operators who appear to be above the rabble - well according to my old doctor friend who as a long time Rotary club member says a couple of his rotary associates are pachinko owners and they're good guys.

I wouldn't want people to succumb to unecessary suffering, health / finacial wise, but a clean out of the industry would not go astray.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

...our businesses might face risks of bankruptcy if the situation drags on,"

And the downside?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ok, I agree about getting back to normal, but and according to the current laws here, what do you expect the authorities to do, without breaking the law?

One way I can think of, would be using their parking lots as testing stations or confining the infected or some such.

Most of them do have large parking spaces and afaik, under the law for SOE, you can use properties belonging to individuals or anyone without their consent for such uses.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I wish JT would let us post pictures. I'd go out this weekend to each and every one of these parlors up here and take pictures of the parking lots. They will be filled both tomorrow and Sunday.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

hundreds of small children die every year because of stupid negligent parents who leave them in hot cars

I don't like pachinko, or gambling in any commercial form because it preys on the weak, but this is exaggeration of the day. You get the odd idiot in Japan, but the country is not over-run with them.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As much as we hate gambling and the effects of addiction, for many rural retired old people, going to pachinko is all they have to look forward to before they die.

the young Urban ones can go get a life.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

But the quickest and most effective way for everything to return to normal, is to stop the spread. You do this by making sure people stay home and only go out for ESSENTIAL NEEDS ONLY. Pachinko is NOT...I repeat IS NOT an essential need by any stretch of the imagination.

And as I said earlier, if these greedy business owners don't comply, they are only prolonging the recovery process, and prohibiting other businesses from returning to normal sooner. This jeopardizes people's health, their lives, and their livelihoods. And if people choose not to comply and refuse to cooperate, then YEAH, the government needs to start taking more drastic steps to get it under control.

@Mirai Hayashi

I agree! It has to be 'one in ALL in' if we really want to control this virus. Unfortunately though, the constitution does not allow for the government to force lockdowns in Japan. The best the government can do is make everyone understand how important it is to close down until the end of Golden Week. I totally agree that some 'thoughtless' business owners who decide to stay open are not helping the situation at all and are probably prolonging it, so they have to realize that in the end they are not helping our society to get back to any sense of normality, and therefore not helping their industry in the long run either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Mocheake

I've heard lots of these places are controlled by companies with ties to North Korea. With Kim Jong-un being sick, they need to make extra revenue to send to him as a get-well gift so they are saying screw the state if emergency.

Actually they are really controlled by organizations that associated or related to Yakuza, hence partially why the government allows them to exploit a loophole in the anti-gambling laws. I am sure that they also pay off these politicians to allow them to stay in business and operate during these times

9 ( +9 / -0 )

And if people choose not to comply and refuse to cooperate, then YEAH, the government needs to start taking more drastic steps to get it under control.

Ok, I agree about getting back to normal, but and according to the current laws here, what do you expect the authorities to do, without breaking the law?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Organized crime has always preyed on the vulnerable, whether it be drugs or alcohol; gambling is just another racket for them. I've said it before and I think others have mentioned it as well, but all the social ills have come to the forefront and this is just another example. Japanese govt has turned a blind eye to Japanese yakuza for a long time and now with the pachinkos staying open they are getting the one finger salute from the gangs. You're going to have to close all of them because unfortunately those who are afflicted with gambling addiction will travel to go get their high. Don't forget, the LDP and Abe wanted to push casinos in Japan...food for thought.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I don't go believing all pachinko parlors have connection with NK, it's kinda rumors of some are all. I know that pachinko parlors pay a lot taxes to govt. and some politicians of many parties involved to have profits from there. Probably Abe team just waiting when a cluster will happen to completely close their doors.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Government gets more in taxes from Pachinko than from entire car industry. I hope that explains why they are not clamping down.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I've heard lots of these places are controlled by companies with ties to North Korea

I can attest to this. Many pachinko parlours are known to be run by ethnic Koreans - some of whom have loyalties which lie across the Sea of Japan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I'm not surprised idiots are still going to pachinko parlours, you've got to be brain dead to want to waste your time there!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I've heard lots of these places are controlled by companies with ties to North Korea. With Kim Jong-un being sick, they need to make extra revenue to send to him as a get-well gift so they are saying screw the state if emergency.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I really get the idea from your posts that you would rather the government HAVE total control over all of it!

That is scary!

Yaburu

Quite the opposite. I want things to return to normal. I am tired of riding public transportation and having to worry if the person who chooses not to practice social distancing, and sits or stands just inches away, is going to infect me.

But the quickest and most effective way for everything to return to normal, is to stop the spread. You do this by making sure people stay home and only go out for ESSENTIAL NEEDS ONLY. Pachinko is NOT...I repeat IS NOT an essential need by any stretch of the imagination.

And as I said earlier, if these greedy business owners don't comply, they are only prolonging the recovery process, and prohibiting other businesses from returning to normal sooner. This jeopardizes people's health, their lives, and their livelihoods. And if people choose not to comply and refuse to cooperate, then YEAH, the government needs to start taking more drastic steps to get it under control.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Hey, we can't deny the pachipros their source of income, now can we?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Pachinko facing bankruptcy? I thought they are doing very well financially... What expenses do they have? Electricity and a couple of staff? Its not as if the people there are winning constantly...

Which obviously shows how much you really do not know about the industry or how to read articles here.

The comment was not about the industry as a whole, but about one owner with a "few" parlors!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Of course not. They've only closed down all of the schools, and limited visits to the grocery stores to once every three days, because those places are far less essential than pachinko parlors and izakayas. /end sarcasm

Sarcasm or not, while you are correct about schools, the "limits" on going to grocery stores is not a "law" it's a "mother-state" suggestion/request.

I really get the idea from your posts that you would rather the government HAVE total control over all of it!

That is scary!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

THe government can not force them, but they can shame them and their customers, and THAT is what is working to close them.

I SERIOUSLY doubt this would work. I would even argue that this will only serve as free advertisement for these pachinko parlor that defy order and stay open. People will be like "oh look, XXX Pachinko-ten is open. Let's go there!"

People who are addicted aren't going to be shamed into quitting. And what are the media going to do to them? Show them on TV? (which they can't due to privacy laws). At best, they show mosiac'd out images of blobs of people, and interview some of them with there voices electronically distorted....ooooo...big deal!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

parlor owners warned that they might not be able to reopen.

Great, that is another compelling reason to shut them down!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

hence hundreds of small children die every year because of stupid negligent parents who leave them in hot cars during the summer to suffocate and dehydrate. 

Not true.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Unbelievable. They are a public nuisance to begin with.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

@Yaburu

> You know, we dont live in a police state.

Of course not. They've only closed down all of the schools, and limited visits to the grocery stores to once every three days, because those places are far less essential than pachinko parlors and izakayas. /end sarcasm

10 ( +16 / -6 )

@Toshiro

> People need their "feel-good fix" that comes with pseudo-gambling, I mean Pachinko. I'm surprised that the government hasn't closed these businesses at the start of the pandemic, these should be the first to go. You can't wholly blame the people though, it's like telling a smoker not to smoke when there's a pack of cigarettes in front of him.

I agree with most of your statement, but I do blame these people. This is irresponsible and selfish. I understand that gambling is an addiction, hence hundreds of small children die every year because of stupid negligent parents who leave them in hot cars during the summer to suffocate and dehydrate. But there has to be a degree of self control in order to fix this problem. These businesses aren't going to stay closed forever, but by frequenting these pachinko parlors, as well as bars and izakayas during these times, they are just prolonging the SOE and making things worse. As a result, they are endangering the livelihoods of these businesses that they love so much because they have to stay closed longer.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Also, JUST fricken CLOSE THEM DOWN. Fine them HEAVILY if they don't comply. Take away their business license. Make them pay like a 90% tax if they still stay open, contribute those proceeds to the healthcare people who are trying to bring this situation under control rather than making it worse like these stupid, selfish, and greedy business owners!

You know, we dont live in a police state.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

They won't even utter the name pachinko as they are afraid. It's only a couple of announcers on the telly who mentioned it a few times.

Actually on one of the talking heads "wide-shows" yesterday there was a rather detailed talk about these pachinko parlors and it seems that many will shut down over golden week.

THe government can not force them, but they can shame them and their customers, and THAT is what is working to close them.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@oldman - could not agree more. Only if they would actually follow the government's instructions and not the crowd.

This is so stupid! Why the hell would ANYONE want to go to a pachinko palor during these times? You're just BEGGING to get infected by going to these places. You may as well go around licking toilet seats, because the chances of contracting this virus is about the same.

People need their "feel-good fix" that comes with pseudo-gambling, I mean Pachinko. I'm surprised that the government hasn't closed these businesses at the start of the pandemic, these should be the first to go. You can't wholly blame the people though, it's like telling a smoker not to smoke when there's a pack of cigarettes in front of him.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Politicians in Japan have connections to pachinko or at the very least they benefit in various ways keeping the business legal in a country where gambling is supposed to be illegal.

They won't even utter the name pachinko as they are afraid. It's only a couple of announcers on the telly who mentioned it a few times.

Went by one the other day. The lights outside were shut but upon closer inspection loads of people inside.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

This is so stupid! Why the hell would ANYONE want to go to a pachinko palor during these times? You're just BEGGING to get infected by going to these places. You may as well go around licking toilet seats, because the chances of contracting this virus is about the same.

Also, JUST fricken CLOSE THEM DOWN. Fine them HEAVILY if they don't comply. Take away their business license. Make them pay like a 90% tax if they still stay open, contribute those proceeds to the healthcare people who are trying to bring this situation under control rather than making it worse like these stupid, selfish, and greedy business owners!

19 ( +26 / -7 )

Pachinko facing bankruptcy?

I thought they are doing very well financially...

What expenses do they have? Electricity and a couple of staff?

Its not as if the people there are winning constantly...

24 ( +28 / -4 )

While many Japanese are sheltering in place, plenty are obviously ignoring the orders and doing as they please. So much for, well, you all know. Certainly this is not a country and society where people are afraid to do as they please, for fear of standing out against the grain and avoiding confrontation.

18 ( +25 / -7 )

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