Ruling party lawmakers call for five IRs

As the debate begins on precisely how many IRs should be licensed under the forthcoming IR Implementation Bill, a group of ruling party lawmakers have begun pushing the idea that as many five or more IRs should be established across the nation.

This comes as something of a surprise as the government had suggested under questioning in the Diet in 2016 that it envisioned only two or three IRs opening in the first round. The ruling coalition Komeito party wants to stick to the original, smaller number.

Recently the government has been including four prefectural governors in its briefings about the IR Implementation Bill—those of Hokkaido, Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki—indicating that they are seen as the most interested local parties.

Hokkaido Governor Harumi Takahashi has finally shown her hand as a strong advocate of building IRs, reportedly arguing that four or five should be licensed across the country as a measure to support regional economies.

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