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Japan: Horse Racing Act Amended

(June 16, 2015) Japan’s amended Horse Racing Act was promulgated on May 7, 2015. (Horse Racing Act, Act No. 158 of 1948 (amended by Act No. 18 of 2015), text of amendment bill, The House of Representatives website (in Japanese).) When the amendment becomes effective within six months of its promulgation, the Minister of Agriculture can designate overseas horse races for which the Japan Racing Association (JRA) or local governments can sell betting tickets in Japan. (Id. new art. 3-2, ¶ 1 & new art. 20-2, ¶ 1.) The races that the Minister can so designate must be administered under a system to maintain fairness that is equivalent to the Japanese system of fairness in horse races. (Id.) In addition, such races must be open for race horses registered with the JRA. (Id. new art. 3-2, ¶. 2, & art. 14.)

Japanese horses and jockeys have had great success in major races overseas in recent years. According to horse racing expert Fumitaka Tsuruoka, “the Japanese have made a lot of efforts to catch up with European and American racehorses for more than 50 years since the first overseas challenge in 1958.” (Matt Majendie, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe: Why Horse Racing Is ‘Big in Japan,’ CNN (Oct. 4, 2013).) In 2014, two horses trained in Japan gained the top two rankings in the world. (Press Release, British Horseracing Authority, Japanese Horses Rise to the Top of the World(Jan. 20, 2015).)

A part of the profits of the new ticket sales will be used to support the horse racing industry in Japan. (Domestic Sales of Overseas Horse Racing Tickets, Amending Horse Race Act, Allocate (Profits) to Animal Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, JAPAN AGRICULTURAL NEWS (Feb. 28, 2015) (in Japanese).)