Pro-casino lawmakers in Japan are reported to be launching another bid to get legislation off the ground and into the Diet.
The non-partisan caucus, estimated to consist of more than 100 members, says it wants to introduce a bill by the fall with a view to securing legalization within two years.
Advocates have been pushing gaming’s potential economic benefits for the better part of a decade with little to show by way of political support. However, this go-round they’ve secured an influential former chief cabinet secretary as their leader, Hiroyuki Hosoda of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a veteran lawmaker believed to have the ear of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“You need both sides of the equation before things really get moving. We want to make that happen this year,” said the lobby’s deputy leader Takeshi Iwaya, another prominent LDP legislator who served in Abe’s first government in 2006.
In addition, Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura of the Abe administration have been named to the advisory panel.
The group says it plans to introduce legislation in the House of Representatives that would set guidelines for legalizing casinos in Asia’s second-largest economy. The timing is expected after elections in July to the Diet’s upper chamber, the House of Councillors, where a coalition led by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party hopes to seize a majority.