It has to be kind of embarrassing for Japan: once the unquestioned leader in manufacturing throughout the world, the Asian island-country now seems to have fallen way behind its more aggressive brethren across the Asian panoply.  But now an upstart Japanese political party, the Japan Restoration Party (JRP) intends to change all that by getting casino legislation passed once and for all.

Uphill Battle

Politicians have been trying to get laws passed for years in Japan that would allow for integrated resort casinos like the ones popping up all over Singapore, Vietnam and even stodgy mainland China now, but some internal resistance has made the process a laborious one, and the JRP is determined to change that up now. With the ravages of the disastrous 2011 nuclear tsunami still hovering, both physically and financially, declining exports and an aging population overall, it’s clear the country needs to do something to create reasons for tourism and hope within its borders.  The JRP and others believe an integrated resort casino (or two or three) would be just the ticket to accomplish that agenda.

Getting a casino onto Japan’s shores has proven to be no easy matter, and even with the new JRP push, it’s looking like another two years, if all goes perfectly, before legalized gambling would be  reality there.  The push will remain strong, however; an Osaka University of Commerce study concluded an integrated casino resort in Japan could potentially garner $10 billion annually, and guess who would get $2.5 billion of that tasty pie? That’s right, the Japanese feds.

Tokyo Is On Board

On the “get ‘er done” side is Tokyo’s governor (maybe part of Japan’s problem is they don’t know the difference between state and city leadership designations?), who says he is fully behind a parliamentary measure to make legal casinos a reality in his city and wants to see it happen “as soon as possible.”  He says he would be happy to see a waterfront district casino go up in Tokyo for starters.

On the resistance front, oddly, are apparently Japan’s pachinko operators, who like their slot as ersatz gambling operators for their countrymen.  The smart ones are already jockeying for potential casino licenses if this legislation ever pushes its way through the thick mud that is apparently the Japanese legislative process.

As for the populace there, slowly but surely the old Japanese guard are coming around; casinos are supported by 43 percent of citizens polled, only 20 percent are opposed, and 37 percent need more time to think about it. Looks like they have at least two years to ponder the pros and cons of a brave new gambling world in Japan.