Japan opposition submits bill to scrap casino laws amid bribery scandal | The Japan Times

Monday 20th January 2020

Four major Japanese opposition parties introduced a bill to scrap laws on casino-featuring integrated resorts to the Diet on Monday as it convened a 150-day regular session.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party jointly submitted the bill to the House of Representatives.

Last week, Lower House lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto was served an additional arrest warrant in a bribery scandal related to an envisioned IR project. Akimoto quit Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party after the scandal broke.

"Casinos would be hotbeds of fraud and corruption," a senior CDP official said.

The bill seeks to repeal a law on the development of such resorts passed in 2018 and a related law on the promotion of IR development passed in 2016. Akimoto was Lower House Cabinet Committee chairman when the IR promotion law was discussed in the Diet.

The opposition bloc plans to use the casino issue to put pressure on the government and the ruling camp during the ordinary Diet session.

"We submitted the bill as the first step to make the government give up introducing casinos," CDP parliamentary affairs head Jun Azumi told reporters.

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, "We'll will make necessary preparations so that the (positive) effects of IR development will become evident as early as possible."

Opposition parties are also set to grill Abe and the government over the controversial handling of public documents pertaining to a state-funded cherry blossom-viewing party.

The government will also face pressure to justify its recent decision to dispatch Self-Defense Forces personnel and assets to some areas in the Middle East, excluding the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important waterway for shipping.

Some opposition lawmakers want the government to cancel the deployment aimed at enhancing information-gathering capabilities for the safe navigation of commercial ships.

As an extension of the session is expected to be difficult ahead of the Tokyo gubernatorial race and the Olympics and Paralympics this summer, the government has decided to submit a fewer-than-usual 52 bills, the lowest on record for a regular session since the Constitution entered into force in 1947.

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