Despite being re-elected as the Prime Minister of Japan last month, Shinzo Abe (pictured) has reportedly yet to set a timetable for his government to bring the proposed casino-enabling Integrated Resort Implementation Bill before the nation’s legislators for debate.
According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, Keiichi Ishii from the coalition Komeito political party recently declared that the government is currently in the process of establishing a ‘specific system’ to introduce the legislation to the country’s National Diet but that he does not expect that this submission will be ‘on time’.
Although most casino gambling is currently illegal in Japan, legislators led by Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party controversially ratified enabling legislation in December that proposed legalizing up to four integrated casino resorts set to additionally feature hotels, shops and conference spaces. But, the future of this measure was put in jeopardy in September when Abe surprisingly called a snap general election with The Japan Times reporting public opposition to the idea often running at a ratio of two-to-one.
However, economic concerns alongside fears over a more militant North Korea reportedly saw Abe surprisingly re-elected by a landslide margin on October 22 with the 63-year-old’s newly-formed Liberal Democratic Party/Komeito coalition now controlling 67% of the 465 seats in the House of Representatives.
Asia Gaming Brief reported that Ishii has since been appointed to lead Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism despite skepticism from several of his Komeito colleagues over the wisdom of legalizing casino gambling in Japan.
Moving forward, Asia Gaming Brief reported that Japanese officials are currently still in the process of formulating specific rules and guidelines for the planned Western-style casino projects and that these may still be inserted into the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill. The bill could be debated before the end of the current legislative session on December 9 or delayed until the next sitting in early-2018.