Former Japanese Prosecutor Now Faces Fine for Public Gambling Charge

Posted on: March 16, 2021, 11:13h. 

Last updated on: March 17, 2021, 11:32h.

The man who once served as Tokyo’s top prosecutor will likely have to pay a fine for gambling after authorities in Japan’s metropolis issued a “summary indictment” against him, The Japan Times reported Saturday.

Japan prosecutor gambling
Reports indicate former Tokyo prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa faces a fine after it was discovered he gambled with reporters during the country’s COVID-19 national emergency. He initially escaped punishment last year. However, in December, an inquest ordered prosecutors to reconsider that decision. (Image: AP)

According to The Mainichi, Hiromu Kurokawa faces a fine of up to 1 million yen, or $9,159. The paper said the indictment Kurokawa received is typically associated with minor violations and foregoes a court trial.

Kurokawa served as the head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors office. But he stepped down from that position 10 months ago after a Japanese publication reported he played mahjong with journalists for money.

In addition, the incident came as the country implemented strict social distancing policies to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

Prosecutors Forced to Reconsider

Kurokawa originally escaped punishment. Back in July, prosecutors chose not to press charges against him.

However, in December, the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecutions ordered authorities to reconsider that decision. That committee is similar to a grand jury in American courts.

The committee said that Kurokawa’s position – at the time he resigned, he was the country’s second-ranking prosecutor – necessitated another review by prosecutors.

At that time, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors office said in a statement it took the matter seriously and would review the case.

Published reports indicated Kurokawa played mahjong four times in April and May with two reporters from the Sankei Shimbum and a writer with the Asahi Shimbum.

The reporters did not face any prosecution the first time and are unlikely to face it this time, sources told The Mainichi.

The journalists, though, received sanctions from their employers, the Mainichi reported. The Sankei writers received four weeks suspension, and the Asahi correspondent got a one-month suspension.

Online Gaming Not Under Consideration in Japan

The island country bans most forms of gaming. While the country is working to develop resort casinos, a top official said earlier this month that will not lead to online gaming becoming legalized.

Hachiro Okonogi, who chairs the Liberal Democratic Party’s National Public Safety Commission and is the Minister in charge of Building National Resilience, spoke at a recent legislative session about the issue. According to Inside Asian Gaming, House of Councilors member Hiroyuki Moriyama, who belongs to the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, asked Okonogi if regulations had changed regarding online gaming, noting a rise in popularity in such sites during the pandemic.

Okonogi reiterated that the law does not allow for online gaming.

The reason online casinos are not subject to the ‘casino acts’ in the IR Development Act is because online casinos are illegal in the first place,” the minister said.

He added that as public safety chairman, he would see to it that law enforcement in Japan would take action against such sites.