The Komeito party voted in favor of the implementing legislation for integrated resorts (IR) with casinos at the House of Representatives plenary session on June 19. This marked a sharp contrast with the time when a vote on the IR promotion bill (bill lifting the ban on casinos) was taken in December 2016. At that time, the party allowed its Diet members to vote freely, resulting in around one-third of them voting against the bill.
This time, Komeito imposed compulsory adherence to a party decision, so all 28 of its Lower House members, except Shigeyuki Tomita, who was absent for medical reasons, voted for the bill.
Party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi stressed at a news conference: “It is the responsibility of the government and the ruling parties to pass the bill.”
One Komeito member who previously voted against the IR promotion bill explained that the reason he is now in favor of casinos is because the new bill contains “the strictest regulations in the world.” The basic law on gambling addiction prevention, which his party attaches great importance to, has also been passed in the Lower House.
Komeito also reckons that “processing this bill quickly in the current Diet session will minimize the impact” on the simultaneous local elections and House of Councillors election next year.