Japan casino debate off agenda again this week

    A bill to discuss the legalization of casinos in Japan has been pushed off the agenda again for this week, though a key opposition politician has said he is not “necessarily against” allowing casinos into the country.
    Yosuke Kondo, a Democratic Party lawmaker, who is one of two senior directors in the lower house committee handling the bill, said he made demands to the ruling party that should be met before he will agree to allow debate to start, Reuters said.
    The demands have pushed back the possibility of a debate until next Wednesday at the earliest, making passage before the end of the current session on June 22nd impossible.
    Kondo told the news agency his demands were aimed at ensuring the bill receives sufficient discussion, such as requiring the chief cabinet secretary and other key officials to be made available for debate.
    “This is a very important piece of legislation. It needs to be discussed thoroughly,” Kondo, who as the leading opposition director in the cabinet committee can in principle block the debate of a bill, he said.
    The bill has a chance of being passed in an Autumn session, he added.
    Japan’s casino market has been estimated at as much as $40 billion, attracting widespread interest from nearly all the world’s major casino operators, with Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts saying they may be willing to spend as much as $10 billion on new facilities.
    However, with passage of the bill slipping, the timetable for the legislative process is likely to be too tight for companies to open their showcase resorts in time to capitalize on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.