DP appears to be avoiding conflict with Komeito ahead of the Upper House election in July, making it increasingly unlikely for casinos to be in place ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Introduced by LDP and two other parties last year, the so-called Integrated Resort Facilities Promotion Bill looks to lift the ban on casinos in Japan, one of the only developed countries in the world where the sector remains illegal. The aim of the government is to boost tourism and foreign investment, while attempting to stamp out widespread illegal casino business.
After the national security bill was prioritized last September, the gaming bill was moved to this session. The industry has been eagerly anticipating casinos in Japan and several of the world’s largest casino operators have already scouted potential sites and released plans. However, Komeito remains of the opinion that it would lead to a rise in problem gambling.
“We’ll give up again for this session,” a LDP lawmaker told The Japan Times this week. Another member added, “The problem is whether an accord can be reached between the LDP and Komeito.”
Komeito, a junior party in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition government, remains one of the most active opponents of casinos in Japan.
Legislators and officials hope to resume deliberations with Komeito on the bill if an extraordinary Diet session is held in the Autumn, where it would be able to present facts to explain how a regulated sector would operarte.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Sugar told local media that lifting the ban is “expected to be a big boost for tourism and regional economies.” But at the same time, he expressed his intention to watch how the Diet would respond to the bill, noting there are calls for measures to prevent adverse effects on public security, as well as the young and vulnerable.