Japan Lower House may start casino debate next week

    Japan’s Lower House may begin discussions on a bill to legalize casinos next week, though the legislation is unlikely to be passed onto the Upper House for final approval before the end of the current Diet session on June 22nd, Reuters reported, citing Takeshi Iwaya, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and a leading casino proponent.
    Instead, the lower house may keep control of the bill as part of a strategic plan to avoid trying to rush it through an Upper House committee thought to be less supportive of the idea of legalizing casinos, he said. Instead, it will be held until an extraordinary session in Fall can vote on the matter.
    The government is keen to push through casinos as part of an ambitious plan to double tourist numbers to about 20 million.
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited two luxury casinos in Singapore last week and expressed backing for the idea of integrated resorts, helping give the bill some impetus at home.
    However, casinos are not mentioned in a 60-page draft of Abe’s economic growth strategy, due to be announced later this month, the news agency said, citing a copy of the proposals. That may indicate some areas remain contentious, it said.