Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scored a big win in snap general elections in December, and has pledged to drive through his economic reform plan, raising hopes a bill to liberalize the country’s casino market may be back on the agenda.
Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, the Buddhist-backed Komeito, won 326 seats to maintain a two-thirds majority, although the LDP itself slipped to 291 seats from 295. However, turnout was a record low. The casino bill failed to gain sufficient parliamentary support and was put on hold indefinitely in November amid a political scandal that prompted Abe to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections. Abe is a strong proponent of casinos as a tool for boosting tourism revenue.