Japan’s casino debate goes local

The passage of Japan’s Casino Bill into law in the early morning hours of December 15, 2016, was achieved only after a bruising political struggle. The administration of Shinzo Abe had waited too long into the Extraordinary Diet Session to begin the deliberations on the bill and thus was forced to steamroll over the opposition parties in a clumsy, ad hoc fashion. Even the ruling coalition Komeito Party was embarrassed by the process, unable to unify internal opinion among its lawmakers. Meanwhile, all of Japan’s major newspapers editorialized against the Casino Bill and polls showed that the general public was opposed to it by a roughly 2-to-1 margin. The legislation was enacted, but the political groundwork had been poorly laid. In the weeks since the enactment, all major parties were ready to back away and to lick their respective wounds. The issue largely disappeared from the headlines. Concerns over diplomatic relations...

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