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Opposition criticizes ruling parties’ deliberation of casino resort bill amid large-scale disaster

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and other opposition parties are stepping up their criticism of the ruling parties for going ahead with deliberations on the legislation to implement integrated resorts (IR) with casinos, on the grounds that the government should be focusing on responding to the disaster in western Japan caused by torrential rains. Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii, who is responsible for IR, is also the minister in charge of disaster rehabilitation. The opposition also aims to force the ruling parties to delay deliberation of the bill.


During interpellations on the IR-related bills at the House of Councillors Committee on the Cabinet on July 8, Wakako Yata of the Democratic Party for the People asked: “Is it appropriate to be deliberating the casino resort bill amid this urgent situation (of the natural disaster)?” She questioned Ishii’s presence at the committee meeting.


Ishii stressed that “even as this meeting is taking place, the government is staging a thorough response to the disaster,” but the opposition attacked him for “giving top priority to casinos while claiming to be giving top priority to human lives” (as stated by CDPJ Diet Affairs Committee chief Kiyomi Tsujimoto).


The ruling parties aim to enact the IR implementing legislation during the current Diet session. Since very little time is left before the Diet adjourns on July 22, there is practically no room to compromise with the opposition on the deliberation schedule. The opposition is taking advantage of this situation to highlight the ruling parties’ arbitrary approach by stressing the importance of disaster response.


The CDPJ is also coordinating the submission of a no-confidence motion against the cabinet right before the Diet adjourns. It was originally planning to submit the motion while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was traveling in Europe and the Middle East, but now that Abe has cancelled his trip, it has judged that “it is better to submit the motion to coincide with the vote on the IR implementing legislation,” according to a senior CDPJ official.

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