On Dec. 29th the Japanese government and the LDP decided to forego passage in the Ordinary Diet Session beginning this year on Jan. 4th of the Integrated Resort Facilities Promotion Bill, which has casinos at its core.
Local press Hokkaido Shimbun reported that Komeito remains cautious about lifting the ban on casinos due to its continuing concern over an increase in gambling addiction. It was judged that any effort to rush enactment of the bill before next summer’s House of Councillors elections could affect electoral cooperation between the two ruling parties.
While the Abe administration views lifting the ban on casinos as a strategic measure to enhance economic growth, in practice the associated legislation is necessary. The goal of opening the first Integrated Resorts before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a doubtful prospect.
In regard to the timing of the IR Bill’s enactment, a senior government official stated: “There’s no chance in the coming Ordinary Diet Session. There’s no time for it before the House of Councillors elections.” While there are some within the LDP calling for early passage and making final adjustments to the bill early in the year, a Komeito executive warns, “there is no reason to do this before the elections. This bill is frozen until the Autumn Extraordinary Diet Session.”