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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 11 - 17  > Land Minister spends valuable time to discuss casino bill instead of working to assist heavy rain victims
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2018 July 11 - 17 [POLITICS]

Land Minister spends valuable time to discuss casino bill instead of working to assist heavy rain victims

July 11, 2018
July 11, 2018

On July 10, the day after the Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties jointly urged the government to give the highest priority to measures for recovery from the devastating rainfall in western Japan, the ruling block forced a discussion on the casino implementation bill at a House of Councilors committee meeting.

Recent opinion polls show that a majority of the respondents are opposed to the passage of the casino bill in the current session of the Diet. The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties are facing public criticism for trying to push forward with the enactment of the bill without concentrating their efforts on implementing measures to support the recent disaster victims.

Land Minister Ishii Keiichi, who should take a lead in managing the reconstruction of main roads and railways damaged by the torrential rain, spent the whole day sitting at the Upper House Cabinet Committee meeting. The Land Ministry has jurisdiction over IR facilities, the main focus of which is casino operations and the casino implementation bill lays down rules regarding casino operations.

In the meeting, opposition party lawmakers criticized Ishii and the government for not tackling the recent natural disaster seriously enough. Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Haku Shinkun said to the land minister, “Do you think now is the time for you to discuss the casino bill?” Ishii tried to dodge the question by implying that it was directors of the committee, not he, that decided to discuss the bill on the day.

Haku went on to say that committee directors from the ruling block told him the opposite of what Ishii said: if Haku wants to know the reason why the Cabinet Committee needs to hold a meeting on this day, he should ask the government. Haku protested against the ruling parties and the committee chair who decided to convene the meeting.

Another CDPJ lawmaker, Sugio Hideya, condemned Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s slow response to the heavy rain disaster. The Meteorological Agency at 2 p.m. on July 5, in a rare move, held an emergency press conference to warn residents in western Japan that extreme rainfall was expected and issued special warnings over the next two days. However, the prime minister called a meeting of relevant ministers on the morning of July 7 when news reports already came out that many people went missing. At last on July 8, Abe set up a taskforce to deal with the record rain disaster.

Past related article:
> LDP decides to discuss casino bill instead of support measures for heavy rainfall victims [July 10, 2018]

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