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CCS Suga’s intervention instrumental in passing casino bill

  • December 15, 2016
  • , p. 34
  • JMH Translation
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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was behind the passage of the IR (integrated resort) promotion bill, or the so-called casino bill, at the House of Representatives on Dec. 6.

 

A political reporter explained that the bill had been shelved for nearly three years because the Komeito party, particularly its leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, was against the deliberation of this bill.

 

However, this process suddenly began moving. A Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) source revealed that, “Suga began to intervene. He contacted Soka Gakkai vice chairman for political affairs Hiroshi Sato during the fourth weekend of November to work for starting deliberations on the IR bill.”

 

Suga and Sato are known to be close friends. Suga also appeared at the meeting of ruling party secretaries general and senior officials on Nov. 28 to request cooperation.

 

The casino bill was submitted by Diet members; it is not legislation submitted by the government, so it is very unusual for the chief cabinet secretary to be involved. On the same day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also requested Yamaguchi’s cooperation. Yamaguchi told him that Komeito was against the bill.

 

As a result of Suga’s maneuvering, deliberation started on the bill. Komeito decided to allow its members to cast conscience votes. Why the rush?

 

The above LDP source explained, “Yokohama, Suga’s home constituency, is keen on inviting casinos to operate there. There had also been a strong demand from Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party]. This party is thinking of opening casinos in time for the Osaka Expo in 2025. Unless the bill is passed in the current Diet session, there won’t be enough time.”

 

Nippon Ishin Secretary General Nobuyuki Baba went to thank Suga after the bill passed the Lower House committee on Dec. 2. Suga reportedly replied, “Uh-huh.” (Abridged)

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