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Legal & Regulatory

Japan passes IR bill despite public concern

The upper house of the Japanese Diet enacted a bill on Friday authorising the development of casinos in Japan.

japancasinos

The Integrated Resorts Implementation Act will allow for the construction of three IR facilities, which will be used as a way to attract foreign investment, boost overseas tourism and revitalise regional economies.

In a last-ditch attempt to delay the vote on the bill in the upper house, opposition lawmakers made an effort to repeal the bill by submitting a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, but the bill was approved by a majority vote of 166 to 72.

American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman said: “Today, Japan took a giant step toward strengthening its economy, attracting international travellers and implementing stringent gaming regulation that protects consumers and eliminates criminal activity. In the years ahead, Japanese communities will realise the many integrated resorts-related benefits that have enhanced dozens of major destinations around the globe.

“The gaming industry is excited to help Japan achieve its economic goals and eager to partner with the governments and people of Japan to build a world-class gaming market and regulatory system.”

However, the introduction of the bill is highly unpopular among residents in the country, according to a recent Nikkei survey.

Support for Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet tumbled to 45% in the latest Nikkei survey poll as his government passed the IR bill.

Support rate for the cabinet dropped from 52% at the end of June to 45% in late July, while its disapproval ratings rose by five points to 47%.

“The people are unhappy that [the Abe government] pushed casino law and upper house reform over measures that improve their lives,” said Kiyomi Tsujimoto, Diet affairs chief of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, in another survey conducted by Kyodo News, 64.8% of respondents opposed the legislation, and 27.6% supported it.

In both surveys, a large majority of respondents were also displeased with Abe’s cabinet response to the torrential rain disaster in Japan earlier this month.

Abe and Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) were heavily criticised for holding a party during the disaster, which saw more than 220 people lose their lives earlier this month.


 

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