Shiokawa blasts U.S. influence over IR legislation

Tetsuya Shiokawa, a seven-term House of Representatives lawmaker of the Japan Communist Party, has been arguing repeatedly that the Japanese government has changed the shape of the IR Implementation Bill to suit the preferences of powerful American businessmen—and he’s not pleased about it.

Specifically, Shiokawa believes that Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands and perhaps others intervened with the Japanese government at the highest levels to reverse the earlier proposal to put an absolute limit on casino floor space.

Last June, there was discussion in the Experts’ Committee of an absolute limit of 15,000 square meters of casino floor space, even for the largest Japanese IRs. However, by March of this year this policy proposal was quietly dropped.

Shiokawa cites Sheldon Adelson’s August 2017 visit to Osaka in which the Las Vegas Sands founder publicly declared that the casino floor size restrictions wouldn’t allow “the realization of the kind of IR we desire” in Japan.

At the June 12 press conference featuring four other opposition lawmakers, Shiokawa brought up the issue again, saying that the true nature of the legislation is that it is “a casino business law meant to facilitate casinos.”

Shiokawa believes that US President Donald Trump may have directly raised these issues in his bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at the behest of “Las Vegas Sands Chairman Adelson, President Trump’s Number One supporter,” as well as other top leaders of the US casino industry.