The submission of the implementing legislation for integrated resorts (IR) with casinos for the actual lifting of the casino ban is running behind schedule. One reason is that the Liberal Democratic Party’s Hiroyuki Hosoda, 74, who should be coordinating this effort as the chair of the supra-partisan parliamentary union on IRs, is preoccupied with constitutional revision.
A political editor observes: “While the specific conditions for operating IRs have been decided through consultations between the LDP and Komeito, this process was a very tough one. Mr. Hosoda had the difficult job of building a consensus in the LDP as the chair of its Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution before the party convention on March 25. With cabinet support ratings plunging as a result of the Moritomo scandal, if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fails even to realize constitutional revision, this will betray the weakening of his leadership. Therefore, he is ‘dumping’ this issue on the headquarters chair arbitrarily.”
Hosoda is a capable administrator who performs his duties faithfully in accordance with Abe’s wishes. On the other hand, he also chairs the Hosoda faction, the biggest political force in the LDP, which is also Abe’s faction.
The above editor says: “Hosoda is a graduate of Tokyo University and a second-generation Diet member who went into politics after serving as a bureaucrat at the old Ministry of International Trade and Industry. His father Kichizo was a political heavyweight in the Fukuda faction and was close to Abe’s father Shintaro. In that sense, he is a close confidant that Abe has picked based on the personal relationship of their fathers. Although Hosoda has served as chief cabinet secretary and LDP secretary general, he does not have the ambition to run as LDP president and does not lobby for vested interests. He is an extremely unusual politician.”
Hosoda is well-known internationally and a capable technocrat.
A Foreign Ministry source notes that, “He is also well-versed in nuclear engineering and is highly regarded in the U.S. When the Japanese National Security Council (NSC) was created four years ago and former Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi was named to head its secretariat, officials of its counterpart, the U.S. NSC, wondered why Hosoda did not take up the job.”
However, Hosoda has also made controversial remarks on certain occasions that were uncharacteristic of his soft-spoken personality.
He is actually not very interested in casinos. He recently told his aides: “Do we really have to do this?” according to an LDP source.
With the ruling Komeito also reluctant about opening casinos, will Hosoda be able to push the IR legislation, as he did the constitutional revision proposals? (Slightly abridged)