International edition
July 28, 2021

The government regards the plan as a major part of its economic growth strategy

Japan's proposed casinos to start as foreigner-only

(Japan).- Only foreign nationals will be initially allowed to gamble at casinos after the ban on casinos is lifted, according to revisions to a bill being considered by a suprapartisan league of Diet members working to promote the establishment of integrated resorts in Japan. This policy was agreed Tuesday at a meeting of senior members of the league dedicated to promoting international tourism.


he league, chaired by Hiroyuki Hosoda, executive acting secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, will make an official decision at a general meeting next Thursday.The league decided that Japanese nationals would not be allowed to gamble at casinos at first because Komeito remains wary about the liberalisation. It is uncertain when Japanese would be allowed to roll the dice.

The league aims to pass the revised bill to create a law legalising casinos in Japan during the current Diet session. The LDP, the former Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and the People’s Life Party jointly submitted the original bill to the Diet in December last year. The bill stipulated that the government would be obliged to take necessary legislative actions within a year after the planned law is enacted to legalise casinos, which are now prohibited by the Penal Code, and to promote establishment of integrated resorts.

The league plans to add a clause in the bill that Japanese nationals would be allowed to gamble at casinos through the enactment of another law. As a result, lifting the ban on Japanese gambling at casinos is expected to come up during debates on a related bill that the government will submit after the planned law is enacted.

As the current bill lifts the ban only for foreigners, members of the league expect Komei to and other skeptical groups to support it. After Tuesday’s meeting, Hosoda told reporters, “We’ll make all possible efforts to pass the bill during the current Diet session.”

Lifting the ban on casinos was enthusiastically supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The government regards the plan as a major part of its economic growth strategy, as it believes the action would lead to an increase in foreign tourists. But one of Abe’s aides said: “With only foreigners gambling, [casinos] will not be profitable. The momentum for promoting integrated resorts may lose steam.”

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