More prefectural governors take aim at defiant pachinko parlors

Osaka’s high-profile conflict with pachinko parlors that have refused to suspend operations in spite of Covid-19 state of emergency requests has begun to spread to other prefectures.

Neighboring Hyogo Governor Toshizo Ido, for example, issued a provisional list of six pachinko parlors known to be defying the requests of the prefectural government.

The mayor of Toyooka city, Hyogo, where three of the six defiant pachinko parlors are located, told the media, “I was surprised to hear that three outlets are open. I would like to see these companies exercise their social responsibility as soon as possible by closing, and for our citizens not to go there.”

Saitama Governor Motohiro Ono, meanwhile, has asked the local pachinko association to join the government in requesting that defiant pachinko parlors suspend their operations.

In the Tokyo Metropolitan District, where the Covid-19 infection is spreading most widely, dozens among the roughly 770 pachinko parlors are reportedly still open, and the government is preparing to publicly name them.

One uncomfortable fact, however, is that anecdotal evidence suggests that the pachinko parlors which are defying their local governments are also packing in large numbers of avid pachinko players, many of whom are traveling from farther away to indulge their habit, no matter how much local residents may complain.