Students of Koyo High School, a prefectural school, held a debate this week to discuss the pros and cons of an integrated resort with a casino in Wakayama.
The students were divided into two groups, for and against, with the goal of encouraging logical thinking. Arguments on the “for” side included the expectation that an IR would create employment while the “against” side suggested an IR would become a hotbed of crime.
The debate was organized by Koyo High School as part of a general studies class at the Department of Environmental Sciences. Approximately 20 third-year students (grade 12) were involved, each arguing the side of the debate they stood on. The debate format included the other students making up the audience, which afterwards were asked to make the final decision on which side they empathized with most.
The supporters claimed, “If there is an increase in tourists from other prefectures and overseas, we can expect economic effects, and once COVID-19 is under control, we can also expect [an IR] to lead to increased employment.”
The opposing team pleaded, “There have been reports of casinos abroad being a hotbed for fraudulent money laundering and there are also concerns of people becoming addicted to gambling.”
A total of 105 students, mainly in their first year (grade 10), listened to the debate and determined which had been the more logical, fact-based argument. The end result was a slim victory for the opposing team with 56 students sympathizing with their argument and 49 students sympathizing with the supporting team.
The teacher running the exercise stated, “Our students are the future of Wakayama and IR is an important topic when considering that future.
“Some generations are concerned about the decline in verbal ability due to social media networks and this debate has been a good opportunity for students to be involved in an active discussion.”
The prefecture is aiming for an IR bid on the artificial island of Wakayama Marina City.