Japan’s governing coalition agreed on Wednesday to extend the current ordinary session of the country’s parliament until July 22, which could allow passage of the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill, a key measure for creation of a casino industry there.
The move – amounting to a 32-day elongation of the present session, which had been due to end on Wednesday (June 20) – was due to be made official via a formal resolution in the legislature that afternoon.
The casino implementation measure is not the only piece of government business said to benefit from the extension of the parliamentary session. Other measures backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its government coalition junior partner Komeito poised for approval include a bill revising rules on labour conditions.
The current government is committed to a range of reforms that it says are aimed at improving the structure of the country’s economy. Casino liberalisation is one of them. The stated aim of the latter is to generate fresh inbound tourism to the North Asia nation.
Kyodo News, a press agency, said it was the first time since 2015 that Japan’s ordinary parliamentary session was being extended.
The House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Japan’s parliament, passed on Tuesday the IR Implementation Bill. That paves the way for the bill to be heard and passed by the upper chamber, the House of Councillors.
If the bill gets the nod in the current session, a number of industry executives expect the first casino licences to be issued in around the year 2020, with the first resorts to open for operation in circa 2025.
In mid-May it emerged that Japan’s two governing parties – and an opposition party – jointly submitted another bill to the country’s parliament on the vexed issue of gambling addiction counter measures. It has previously been reported that the passage of such a bill would be a condition of the timely passage of the IR Implementation Bill.
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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