Casino-supporting parties won all four national parliamentary seats up for contention in Osaka (pictured) in Sunday’s election for Japan’s House of Councillors, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The Japan Restoration Party got two seats in the election for the upper chamber, and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its national-level coalition partner Komeito each won one seat.
In Osaka prefecture, some of the ultimately unsuccessful candidates had made the policy regarding getting a casino there – venues known in Japan as integrated resorts (IRs) – an issue, and campaigned taking an anti-casino line.
The Osaka metropolis submitted its bid for an IR to the country’s national government in late April.
The project – with an initial investment of JPY1.08 trillion (US$7.9 billion at current exchange rates) – is slated for Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka bay. Osaka has teamed with United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix Corp as its private-sector partners for a tilt at an IR. MGM Resorts expects the national government to announce its decision in the autumn.
Osaka’s Japan Restoration Party – a local political grouping that supports the IR policy, also referred to in English as the Japan Restoration Association – currently maintains a majority of seats in the Osaka prefectural assembly.
An anti-casino community group in Japan’s Osaka metropolis said on June 27 it had passed the 2-percent threshold of “effective” local-voter signatures necessary to seek a referendum on the issue.
In the latest national poll, in no other prefecture was the casino policy an election issue, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent. Nagasaki has also applied to the national government for the right to host an IR.
A total of 125 seats – or just over half the total 248 seats in the upper house – were contested in Sunday’s national poll. Following the results, the LDP and Komeito increased its overall representation in that chamber, to 146 seats.
Of the seats in the election, the LDP got 63; Komeito won 13; the Constitutional Democratic Party got 17; the Japan Restoration Party secured 12; the Democratic Party for the People, a centre, to centre-right grouping, got five; the Japanese Communist Party won four; and Reiwa Shinsengumi, a left-of-centre grouping that splintered from the former Liberal Party, got three; with other tickets winning in aggregate eight.
In their manifesto and policy materials, the LDP, Komeito, and the Japan Restoration Party included IR promotion. The Constitutional Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party respectively had a policy to stop casinos from being built.
Sunday’s national election was against the backdrop of Friday’s campaign-meeting shooting in Nara, western Japan, that led to the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, the politician identified as the initiator of the casino-resort policy.
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