Japan’s Casino Bill champions in political decline

The most powerful voices in Japan’s political world, who have been championing the so-called Casino Bill, have suffered reverses that seem to have dimmed the prospects for passage of the legislation. Last November, Hirokazu Nakaima, who favored bringing integrated resorts to his southwestern prefecture of Okinawa, was defeated in gubernatorial elections by Takeshi Onaga, who opposes the idea. Governor Onaga finally made his opposition unequivocal as recently as July 17 when he told journalists, “Casinos are not suitable for the soil of Okinawa.” A much heavier blow to the casino project was delivered exactly two months earlier on May 17 as Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto suffered a humiliating defeat when his plan to merge Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City was rejected in a popular referendum. Hashimoto says that he will retire from politics later this year. Among Japanese local government leaders there has been no one as outspoken and aggressive about the...

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