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Déjà vu for Japan casino bill

Written by Ben Blaschke

All of this talk about enacting Japan’s long-speculated casino legislation in the coming weeks sounds strangely familiar.

December marks three years since the ruling Liberal Democratic Party first submitted a casino bill, only to see it subsequently shelved as other priorities took precedence. Twelve months later, in 2014, the LDP tried again only for parliament to “run out of time” for a vote before the end of the year’s session. And in 2015 … well, you get the picture.

Much like the traditional staff Christmas party – always promising more than it actually delivers – Japan’s casino legislation has been a never ending story of dashed hopes and false dawns. Not that past letdowns have dampened any of the excitement surrounding the LDP’s latest promise to try and enact the bill by 14 December this year.

As determined as ever to boost his country’s economy via the tourism benefits that integrated resorts could potentially bring, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been deep in discussions with coalition partner Komeito in an effort to finally garner the necessary support.

But with the clock ticking for any bills to be passed before the end of the year’s parliamentary proceedings, the opposition Democratic Party stated their intent by boycotting Wednesday’s Lower House Cabinet Committee.

Support for the casino bill is in fact growing in Japan’s corridors of power, but will it see light in 2016? Don’t bet on it.