Japan’s Casino-Backing Political Parties Come Out Ahead in Elections

Posted on: July 11, 2022, 11:40h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2022, 07:17h.

Political backers of integrated resorts (IR) in Osaka, Japan, have fortified their ranks. In Sunday’s election for Japan’s House of Councillors, all four open seats for the prefecture in the national parliamentary elections went to casino-supporting parties.

Japanese citizens voting in the polls
Japanese citizens vote in the polls this past Sunday. Political groups that support casinos in the country added more seats in the House of Councillors. (Image: The Japan Times)

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the country’s controlling party, and its national-level coalition partner Komeito each took one seat in the upper chamber. Meanwhile, the Japan Restoration Party won two seats. Osaka’s local political organization supports the IR Policy and currently holds a majority in the Osaka prefectural assembly.

Some of the unsuccessful candidates in the Osaka prefecture had made it clear that they didn’t want an IR. However, the casino policy was not an issue in recent national polls, according to GGRAsia.

Osaka Secures IR Support

In Sunday’s national election, 125 seats were up for grabs, or just under half of the 248 upper house seats. The LDP and Komeito both increased their overall representation to 146 seats in the chamber following the results. Previously, they held a combined 70 seats.

The LDP won 63 seats, Komeito took 13, and the Constitutional Democratic Party picked up 17, but at the same time, the latter lost six seats it held prior to the election. The Japan Restoration Party now has 12, while the Democratic Party for the People got five. The Japanese Communist Party added four and Reiwa Shinsengumi, a left-wing populist party, picked up three. The other parties won a combined eight seats.

The LDP, Komeito and Japan Restoration Party all included IR promotion in their manifestos and policy materials. On the other hand, the Japanese Communist Party and Constitutional Democratic Party had policies to prevent casinos from being built.

Sunday’s elections took place just two days after the assassination of former Prime Minister and LDP member Shinzo Abe. That took place in the city of Nara, in western Japan, while he was campaigning for other LDP members.

Abe is often seen as the man responsible for bringing IRs to Japan. Along with Osaka, Nagasaki also hopes to host a casino resort.

Japan to Overhaul Its Framework

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, senior party executives and other officials offered silent prayers for Abe at Tokyo’s LDP headquarters on Sunday. Afterward, he promised to continue the LDP’s efforts of advancing democracy in the country.

The LDP’s proposals for constitutional reform include its approach to renouncing previous wars. This is a delicate issue for South Korea and China, as both were victims of Japan’s wartime militarism.

Kishida assumed office last October, promising to make every effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a new mandate will now allow him to continue with his drive for a “new capitalism” that redistributes wealth.

No national election is expected before 2025 unless Kishida dissolves The House of Representatives. However, sources in the LDP claim that the prime minister will likely reshuffle his Cabinet and the ruling party executives by September.

Despite the Japan Innovation Party winning seats, its leader, Ichiro Matsui, called the result a defeat. In addition, he said the LDP secured an “overwhelming” victory.

Matsui had earlier stated that he would stand down following the election. That could still be on the table. However, he wants to see the LDP establish a schedule for revising the Constitution. This, he asserted, is what former Prime Minister Abe would have wanted.

The Japanese government, amid all of the activity it is currently involved with, is reviewing Osaka’s and Nagasaki’s IR projects. Previously, there was a chance that it might make a decision by the end of this summer. However, in light of the circumstances, there may be a delay.