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Japanese lawmakers eye lifting of ban on casinos for Olympics
Publication Date : 26-09-2013
Movements to lift a ban on casinos are intensifying with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics viewed as an opportunity to seek public acceptance as many foreigners will come to Japan for the event.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers may submit a bill lifting the ban to the extraordinary Diet session scheduled this autumn.
The group, alliance for the promotion of international tourism, is headed by the Liberal Democratic Party’s Acting Secretary General Hiroyuki Hosoda and includes lawmakers of the LDP, New Komeito, the Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party). “We hope to submit a bill to the extraordinary Diet in the latter part of the session by coordinating with other parties after handling such issues as the consumption tax and economic measures,” Hosoda told The Yomiuri Shimbun on Saturday.
Casinos are not allowed in Japan as unauthorized gambling is prohibited under the Penal Code. Casinos in Singapore and Macao attract many tourists.
The group plans to seek cooperation from various parties, insisting that the lifting of the casino ban will serve to stimulate the economy and lead to fiscal reconstruction. “It could revitalise the whole nation if we set up casinos even in provincial areas and attract tourists from overseas,” a senior member of the group said.
The group aims to promote the construction of complexes called integrated resorts where such facilities as hotels, conference halls and shopping malls stand along with casinos.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are also on the group’s member list as its supreme advisers.
Abe showed some understanding for casinos, having said, “Though there are challenges, [having casinos] also has certain merits.”