(Asahi: March 18, 2015 – p. 4)
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and two minor opposition parties – the Japan Innovation Party and the Party for Future Generations – have decided to jointly resubmit a bill (lifting the ban on casino gambling) promoting the construction of integrated resorts (IRs), which was scrapped because the House of Representatives election was held late last year. However, since some members of the Komeito party, which is the LDP’s coalition partner, are opposed to the bill, it does not appear likely at present that the bill will obtain Diet approval during the ongoing Diet session.
The bill will be submitted to the Diet by the supra-partisan “alliance of Diet members for the promotion of international tourism industry,” which is headed by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda. With the lifting of the ban on casino gambling, the legislation requires the government to submit an “implementation law” stipulating details, including measures to prevent wrongdoing at casinos, within a year after its passage. In reaction to criticism that the number of people addicted to gambling will increase, the legislation includes regulations to prevent an increase in gambling addiction among Japanese, calling on the government “to take necessary measures for entering casinos.”
Although the suprapartisan group aims to open a casino in 2020 by the time Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics because many foreign tourists are expected to visit Japan then, many Komeito lawmakers are strongly opposed to the idea. A senior group member said, “I wonder if it will really bring about economic effects. What about security measures? These problems still need to be resolved.”