International edition
July 26, 2021

“All major parties are positive about this idea,” said a spokesman for GCM

Change of prime minister ‘unlikely’ to derail Japanese casino plan

(Japan).- The appointment of Japanese sixth prime minister in five years is unlikely to derail plans for casinos in the country claims Tokyo-based consultancy Gaming Capital Management (GCM).

All major parties are positive about this idea,” said a spokesman for GCM after attending an all-party steering group of Japanese lawmakers last week. The issue may not be lack of cross-party support for casinos, but how much parliamentary time can be given to the issue by the incoming administration of Yoshihiko Noda, given the large number of items in the new prime minister’s ‘in-tray’ because of the current economic crisis facing Japan.

Around 20 lawmakers attended the latest meeting of the casino steering group, the General Assembly of International Sightseeing Industry Development Diet Member Association (known more informally as the ‘IR and Casino Diet Member Association’).

The association chairman Issei Koga, of the governing Democratic Party of Japan, said that with cross-party support it would be possible to put an enabling bill for casinos before the next extraordinary session of the Japanese parliament—known as The Diet. The bill would be a framework document with the details drafted later—a common administrative practice in Japan, where civil servants traditionally have a greater direct role in government than in Western democratic countries.

Koga said casino resorts would be “enormously strong engines” for generating international tourism and attracting convention visitors. He pointed out it was important for Japan to move quickly on the issue as neighbouring jurisdictions including South Korea and Taiwan were trying to establish similar facilities. Mr Koga added that revenue from the proposed IRs could be used to repay special government bonds to be issued to fund the earthquake and tsunami recovery effort taking place in the Tohoku region of the country.

The bill proposed last week contains 23 articles—a revision from the 68-article draft version prepared previously. The new document states the purposes, definitions, basic policy, duty of the government, detailed legislation and key principles, as well as identifying the need for a casino administration committee, the implementation of governmental charges and the establishment of a body referred to as the ‘IR Promotion Headquarters’. The country’s prime minister will be in charge of the latter body.

GCM said the meeting was given a list of stated purposes for introducing IRs in Japan. They are: promotion of tourism; development of regional economies and contribution to the governmental budget.

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