The Japan Times newspaper reported – citing an official from Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that it didn’t name – that the party has given up any attempt to push enabling legislation for casino resorts through the country’s parliament (pictured) in the current legislative session.
The current session of the Diet started on January 26 and was due to end on June 24. It has already been extended to run until late September as the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tackles a number of other issues. They include a mooted reform of Japan’s constitution and a more active regional role for the Japan Self-Defense Forces, the reactivation of nuclear energy production plants, and funding issues linked to the stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
A source in Japan with knowledge of the parliamentary process told GGRAsia: “Since the remaining time is limited in the current session, it is not possible to finalise the Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill in both houses. But we understand that there still is a plan to pass it at the lower house at this session and pass it at the upper house at the next extraordinary session. Since the upper house election is expected next year, the LDP would prefer to finalise the bill this year.”
The Japan Times quoted an LDP source saying: “The casino bill will be handled at a planned extraordinary Diet session… For the current session, we have the security bills.”
Extraordinary sessions of the Diet are called if needed, but typically start in the autumn. No date has yet been announced for a 2015 extraordinary session.
The Japan Times additionally reported that the government’s attitude toward the timing of the casino bill was also influenced by the LDP’s need to keep on good terms with Komeito, its coalition partner party. The latter is Buddhist-influenced according to other Japanese media outlets. Its membership has a “cautious attitude” toward removing Japan’s ban on casinos, the Japan Times reported.
The newspaper cited Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi having told a news conference on Tuesday that the party’s stance remains the same, and that he leaves the handling of the casino issue to the party’s Diet affairs committee.
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