The mayor of Osaka and the governor of Osaka prefecture respectively suggested that provided Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) stays at the centre of national government, then the resignation of Shinzo Abe on Friday, as the country’s prime minister, should not derail Japan’s introduction of casino complexes or integrated resorts (IRs).
Osaka has been one of the most active places in pursuing the opportunity to host a casino venue.
Casino liberalisation, particularly with an eye on foreign tourism, was an element in economic reforms that had been touted by Mr Abe as contributors to Japan’s revitalisation. Up to three such facilities are to be permitted in Japan, under the policy. A number of consultants has suggested to GGRAsia that Mr Abe’s exit marks a key moment in the IR initiative.
Osaka’s mayor, Ichiro Matsui, and the governor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, nonetheless made upbeat comments on Friday, following the news of Mr Abe’s departure from the national leadership role, which the latter had attributed to concerns for his personal health.
Mr Matsui and Mr Yoshimura – both representatives of the Japan Restoration Party – mentioned status quo at national-politics level for their belief in the longevity of the casino policy, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Stabilising factors included, they said, not only that the LDP stayed at the centre of government, but also that the country’s IR Implementation Act had been passed and remained in place, providing a path for casino liberalisation in the country.
The next national election is due in, or before, October 2021. Currently, the LDP and its partner Komeito command a majority in the country’s parliament (pictured), although Mr Abe’s personal popularity rating fell to 32.7 percent during August, the second-lowest level since his administration was launched in December 2012, according to a Jiji Press opinion poll in mid-August
Banking group Nomura said in a Friday memo, offering commentary on Mr Abe’s departure, that were Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary under Mr Abe – and touted in some quarters as a successor – to take over the top job, the casino policy would in likelihood remain in place.
“We think that Mr Suga would… continue Mr Abe’s economic policies,” stated Nomura.
“Having served as chief cabinet secretary since December 2012, he has had a guiding hand in the way successive (second to fourth) Abe administrations have kept a tight rein on policy and can be expected to maintain that style if elected.”
The financial institution added: “As well as continuing Mr Abe’s policy of reforming the social security system, we expect he would continue his policies of promoting tourism (including legalising casinos) and cutting mobile phone charges.”
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