Japan’s governing coalition – featuring the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito – won Sunday’s election for the country’s upper chamber of parliament, the House of Councillors (pictured).
During the campaigning period, Komeito had included casino resort promotion as a national commitment for the first time ever, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent. The pledge by Komeito – a Buddhist-influenced political party – was mentioned in its electoral manifesto.
Komeito had been seen previously by analysts as more cautious about liberalising casino gambling as a form of stimulus for the wider economy than had the LDP.
While two phases of general enabling legislation have already been passed on the casino topic, the national authorities have yet to issue the so-called “basic policy” on IRs, including the criteria for deciding where they should be located. Up to three venues will be permitted in a first phase of liberalisation.
The Kyodo News agency reported however that other public policies were of more immediate concern among voters in Sunday’s poll, although fewer than half of the voters bothered to take part in the election.
Half the House of Councillors’ seats are contested every three years.
According to Kyodo, the governing grouping secured 71 of the 124 seats up for grabs in the 245-member House of Councillors: 57 went to the LDP and 14 to Komeito.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lost the two-thirds majority in the upper house needed to achieve his aim of overturning Japan’s pacifist post-Second World War constitution.
Those interested in changing the constitution – including the governing bloc along with like-minded opposition and independent lawmakers – won an aggregate of 81 seats in Sunday’s poll, but they needed 85. The government has the necessary majority in the lower house. The national government would now need to get help from the opposition in the upper house in order to make constitutional changes.
Nonetheless there was a brighter outlook for the casino policy. A pledge on promotion of casino resorts was mentioned by the LDP’s manifesto for the first time in a House of Councillors election. It had mentioned the concept previously in an election for the lower house, the House of Representatives, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent.
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