Japan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), has reached an agreement with the governing Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) to discuss during the current session of the Diet the issue of legalising casino resorts, GGRAsia understands from sources.
The discussion will though only be at Cabinet Committee level in the lower house of Japan’s parliament – known as the House of Representatives – said a Tokyo-based financier who is not authorised to speak on the record about the matter.
Mike Tanji, executive advisor for Tokyo-based Gaming Capital Management Inc, told us: “Even if that happens, because of the time constraint, the passage of the bill in the Diet – including through the upper house – will likely take place at the Extraordinary Session this fall.”
That would make it unlikely that a previously suggested goal of getting casino resorts open in time for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics could be realised.
In July 2013 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leader of the LDP and his coalition partner New Komeito, won a majority in the upper house, the House of Councillors, to complement his majority in the lower body.
But the government’s grip on the upper house is weaker – hovering at around 55 percent. As usual with parliamentary systems it is also affected by absences for illness and through by-elections. Unless the government’s parliamentary business managers are hawkish in whipping the vote, there is always the chance of an upset in the upper chamber.
Mr Tanji on Thursday told GGRAsia that a reported split in the Japan Restoration Party, which had given 100 percent backing of its parliamentary membership to the enabling legislation – known as the IR [Integrated Resort] Bill – was unlikely in itself to damage the prospects for the statute.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China