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Contentious items in IR Implementation bill

The two ruling coalition parties—the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party—are beginning direct talks over the IR Implementation Bill, and a number of items have quickly emerged as items of contention.

Submission Time: The LDP aims to submit the bill to the Diet before the end of this month, but Komeito is arguing for a delay into April. The proponents of the legislation fear that waiting too long might jeopardize its passage in the current Diet session, which ends in June.

Number of IRs: Enthusiastically Pro-IR elements in the LDP want to expand the number of IR licenses to be granted in the first round to about five. Komeito has responded firmly that three is the most that it can accept.

Casino Entry Fees: The government has proposed a US$19 entry fee for Japan residents, which almost all Komeito lawmakers and a handful of LDP lawmakers feel is much too low. It appears that the fee will be raised to a somewhat higher level in the course of negotiations.

MyNumber Card: Some pro-IR lawmakers point out that the MyNumber card is not yet in wide use and may still be less than universal by the time the first IRs open their doors. They want to explore the possibility of accepting other kinds of biometric identification for casino entry.

Review Clause: The government has proposed conducting a major review of the terms of the IR Implementation legislation ten years after its effectuation. Pro-IR lawmakers, anticipating a later easing of regulations and an expansion of the number of IR licenses, want the review five years after the first IR opens its doors.

There are essentially three sides involved in policy making at this point. Aside from the two ruling coalition parties is the government’s Office of Integrated Resort Regime Promotion.

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