Japan has moved a step closer to launching a regulated casino market after legalisation bill passed a lower house committee on Friday.
The bill was pushed through in just two days, with backers, which include the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LNP) and the opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai, hoping to pass the legislation by the end of the current parliamentary session on December 14.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has spoken openly about his support for the bill, stating that casinos could be way to sustain inbound tourism after the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are due to take place in the country’s capital of Tokyo.
However, Friday’s session did attract some objections from opposition parties and a member of the ruling coalition, although the Nikkei Asian Review reports that the debate was “minimal”.
The opposition Democratic Party walked out of the vote in protest at the bill, while junior coalition partner Komeito was unable to reach a consensus on how to vote due to concerns over the impact that the proposed legislation could have on issues such as gambling addiction.
Should the bill go through, potential locations for land-based casinos have been identified on Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, as well as in the cities of Sasebo, Yokohama and Hokkaido.
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