Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has decided not to pursue during the current session of the country’s parliament a bill to legalise casino operations. That is according to a story from Jiji Press, carried in the English language media outlet the Japan Times.
The report says the reason is that Komeito, a Buddhist-influenced party that is a coalition partner of the LDP, “remains cautious on gambling”.
“We’ll give up again for this session,” an LDP lawmaker backing the casino bill was quoted as saying on Monday.
“The problem is whether an accord can be reached between the LDP and Komeito,” said another LDP member as quoted in the report.
The Integrated Resorts or “IR” Bill was jointly introduced by the LDP and two other parties during last year’s ordinary legislative session of the two-chamber parliament (pictured). But the bill was carried over to the current sitting – known as the extraordinary session and which began in the autumn last year – after the LDP instead decided to push forward other legislation relating to national security.
According to Monday’s report, the LDP hopes to resume deliberations on the bill if a further extraordinary session of the parliament – a body known as the Diet – is held in the autumn of this year. But a further delay would make it more difficult to open casino complexes ahead of some lawmakers’ self-declared deadline of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
A source in Japan told GGRAsia: “Because of the expected upper house election [for the Diet] in June or July of this year, it is quite reasonable for the ruling parties not to push this kind of controversial bill in the session before the election. I do expect that the earliest timing of the discussion of the IR Bill at the Diet would be the extraordinary session this year.”
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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