DP complicates passage of casino bill

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed one more day of deliberations on the casino bill, after deliberations were held on Monday as anticipated.

Following today’s deliberations, its plan is to push the passage of the Casino Bill to the plenary session of the House of Councillors for a vote in the afternoon, according to Michael Penn of Shingetsu News Agency.

However, the Democratic Party and Communist Party has refused the request, and as the chairman of the committee is Shoji Namba of the opposition Democratic Party, the opposition has an effective veto, complicating the ruling party’s path to passing the bill.

According to Penn, one possible move is to overthrow Shoji Namba as chair of the Cabinet Affairs Committee, but it is thought to be unlikely to happen as it would invite even more intense criticism of the ruling party’s parliamentary tactics.

“More likely is that a plenary session of the House of Councillors will simply circumvent committee approval and hold a vote on the Casino Bill as a so-called “Interim Report,” said Penn.

On Monday, Democratic Party Secretary-General / former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda preemptively denounced this maneuver as “typical of rough Diet management.,”

However, that doesn’t mean the opposition would be able to stop it.

According to Penn, the opposition parties are now preparing a Censure motion in the House of Councillors and a “No Confidence” motion in the House of Representatives for Wednesday over the government’s handling of the Casino Bill.

This is unlikely to have practical effect, but it raises the political costs for strong-arming this legislation against the public will and normal parliamentary procedure.

Should the opposition succeed in delaying passage of the Casino Bill through Wednesday, some ruling party lawmakers are calling on the prime minister to extend the extraordinary Diet session even further to assure time for a vote, he said.

It is also understood that the ruling coalition Komeito Party is no longer an obstacle to the passage of the Casino Bill. On Sunday Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi praised his Liberal Democratic Party allies for holding longer deliberations in the House of Councillors than they did in the House of Representatives. This is universally taken as a clear indication that he and his party will roll over on this issue.