Ruling Coalition agrees to submit IR bill

Top executives of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party met on Wednesday to discuss the schedule for the forthcoming extraordinary Diet session, likely to begin near the end of this month. Among other things, they reportedly agreed that the IR Implementation Bill would be submitted during the course of this Diet session.

The upcoming Diet session does not appear to be crowded with any other highly contentious legislation, so in that sense the IR bill’s prospects look good. Also, as opposed to last year’s IR Promotion Act, which was independently submitted by a group of lawmakers, the forthcoming bill will be submitted by the government itself.

Another point which may facilitate a quicker-than-expected passage of the IR Implementation Bill is that the new leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, is personally an advocate of the establishment of domestic casinos, and he may guide his now more conservative party towards acceptance, or only mild objection, to the legislation.

On the other side of the ledger, however, is the possibility that the entire Diet session may be cut short if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decides to use this period to call a snap election. He has been recovering some of his former popularity in the midst of the North Korea crisis and may choose to strike while the opposition parties are still in deep disarray.

If so, passage of the IR Implementation Bill would be delayed until around May or June of next year at the earliest.

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