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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 13 - 19  > Casino bill steamrollered through Lower House committee
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2018 June 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Casino bill steamrollered through Lower House committee

June 16, 2018

The Lower House Cabinet Committee on June 15 steamrollered through a bill to legally introduce casino gambling in Japan by the majority vote of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Komei Party, and the Ishin no Kai.

The bill, as the next step following the casino-legalization law which was forced through the Diet in December 2016, will set the rules on the actual operation of casino facilities.

The vote on the bill only lasted a minute. At the beginning of the committee meeting, a motion to table the bill for further discussion was submitted. However, the committee chairman who is an LDP parliamentarian brushed it off and, at a sign from the LDP bench, took a vote on the bill high-handedly. Amid the outcry from opposition lawmakers sparked over the procedure, the chairman left the meeting. Committee members of the opposition parties, including those of the Japanese Communist Party, pursued him and demanded the continuation of debate. However, this demand was ignored.

Why is it that the Abe government has been in a hurry to put casino gambling into practice despite a mountain of concerns?

When an Abe-Trump summit meeting took place for the first time on February 10 last year, a breakfast meeting co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Japan Business Council took place. Prime Minister Abe told the CEOs of the three major casino operators such as Sands that Japan now has passed the law to remove the ban on and promote casino gambling. Casino owners who were present at the breakfast session volunteered to give a helping hand to solve problems pertaining to casinos in Japan, according to PM Abe.

No company in Japan has knowledge of how to operate casino resorts, so there is no doubt that foreign capital will come into Japan to establish casinos. Foreign gambling companies themselves openly admit that 70%-80% of their customers in Japan will be Japanese.

In contrast to the government's "international tourism" pretext, these companies are seeking to target Japanese. The JCP position is that the government should withdraw the casino-related bill and should not meet the demands of gambling companies.

Past related articles:
> Casinos may involve money lending operations [May 24, 2018]
> Public hearing on casino gambling meets severe disapproval [August 18, 2017]
> Gambling-induced economic loss could be five times more than economic ‘benefits’ [February 4 & 7, 2017]
> Bills to cut pension benefits and legalize casino businesses forcibly enacted [December 15, 2016]
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