Political challenges loom after passage of IR Implementation Act

The Japanese government is on the brink of passing the IR Implementation Act, though the bill remains deeply unpopular with the majority of the population and sooner or later this will have practical consequences for the industry. The passage of the act represents the culmination of almost two decades of lobbying efforts by the advocates of legalized casino gambling. However, the reality is that casinos have become legal in Japan due mainly to the authoritarian and non-democratic strains in the Japanese political system. The conservative and right-wing politicians who wish to write Japanese war crimes out of the history books, or who bristle at the establishment of monuments to wartime Comfort Women, are also the ones who pushed the hardest for the legalization of domestic casinos. The pro-casino movement in Japan was effectively launched in 1999 by former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, an outspoken nationalist hawk. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it...

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