On May 15, pachinko operator Niraku, which runs 53 halls mainly within Fukushima Prefecture, held a free educational seminar on combating gambling addiction. The seminar was held concurrently with Japan’s Gambling Addiction Awareness Week (May 14-May 20), with 49 people in attendance.
The seminar, “Thinking About and Combating Pachinko Addiction,” was comprised of two parts. Tsutomu Nakamura, the director of pachinko and pachislot addiction recovery center and authorized NPO “One Day Port,” gave the keynote address during the first part, while “Urawa Mahalo Advisory Center” representative Kazuhiko Takasawa coordinated an open forum in the latter part of the event.
Nakamura’s presentation, “The Past, Present, and Future of Combating Addiction,” introduced One Day Port’s activities and the thinking behind the approaches its regular support groups take when tackling addiction. “Within every person lies a key to combating their gambling addiction” said Nakamura, advocating that showing attention to the unique problems of an individual is what will lead to their happiness.
This differentiates from the way in which Japan tends to categorize all people with such problems as suffering from “gambling or other addictions,” a term used by the Japanese government.
In addition to Kazuhiko Takasawa, the open forum held in the second part of the seminar featured panelists such as judicial scrivener Atsushi Inamura, Yuichi Yanai of the Koriyama City Social Welfare Council, pachinko researcher Jogen, and Hiromi Yoshida from the Niraku customer center. The combating of addiction was discussed from a variety of viewpoints.
In a greeting from the seminar organizers, Niraku executive Akinori Ohishi said that ”while pachinko is a casual form of entertainment, it is true that there are customers who suffer problems due to an excessive engagement in it. We believe that combating gambling addiction is a social responsibility of hall operators. Under our Responsible Entertainment policy, we will actively pursue the combating of addiction.”
Niraku’s Responsible Entertainment policy consists of four aspects: Employee education, promotion of prevention, creation of safety networks, and coexistence with the local community. (Amusement Japan)