All papers reported on a tug of war between the ruling coalition and the opposition camp concerning the LDP’s plan to put the casino bill to a Lower House committee vote today, noting that junior ruling partner Komeito is sharply divided within over whether to support it. Because Komeito Diet members failed to forge a consensus on the proposed vote yesterday, they chose to task the leadership with making a final decision. Sankei claimed that the Komeito leadership has informally decided to endorse the legislation in order to prioritize its relations with the LDP, which is determined to enact it during the current Diet session in the belief that the bill to legalize gambling may be shelved indefinitely if it is not passed this year. An unnamed senior Komeito official said: “Given our partnership with the LDP, it is difficult for us to say no.”
Asahi said Komeito will probably not oppose today’s vote in order to prevent the LDP from deepening its partnership with the Osaka-based Japan Innovation Party that has stressed the importance of casinos in a bid to host the 2025 World Expo in Osaka. A senior Komeito official said: “The LDP is trying to strike a balance between the Komeito and the Japan Innovation Party.” The paper projected that the Democratic Party will probably abstain from today’s vote.