In something of a surprise move, the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party jointly submitted their gambling anti-addiction legislation to the Diet on Friday.
Gen Nakatani of the ruling party explained, “In reality, there are many people who are under stress, both financially and physically, due to gambling. In regard to such people, we decided to move with haste to submit this bill and to establish our basic response.”
However, since less than a week remains in the special Diet session, the early submission of the bill does not appear to indicate that it will be deliberated upon or enacted before next spring or early summer. In that sense, this move does not contain much practical meaning.
Meanwhile, the new leading opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, has decided to submit its own legislation to the Diet. One bill is a competing version of the gambling anti-addiction legislation, and the other bill is aimed at making null and void the IR Promotion Act that was forced through the Diet last December.
While the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and its smaller allies such as the Japan Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party do not have the weight of numbers to counteract the Abe administration’s pro-IR policies, their symbolic attempt to roll back the IR Promotion Act is a reminder that Japanese liberals and leftists remain united in opposing casino gambling in the country, and polls show that significant majorities of the general public stand behind them on this issue.