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IR implementation bill delayed again

The IR implementation bill won’t be submitted to the legislature this month, as had been planned, throwing doubt over the timetable for the bill.

The two ruling coalition parties—the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komeito party— on Thursday held the first official meeting of their joint IR working team under the chairmanship of former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

When the meeting ended, a disappointed Takeshi Iwaya, one of the strongest lawmaker proponents of IRs, told reporters that it was “impossible” from a scheduling point of view for the Cabinet to submit the legislation this month. It will have to wait until April or even later.

This creates a scenario that pro-IR lawmakers had hoped to avoid. The regular Diet session is scheduled to end on June 20, and it seems that the IR Implementation Bill could now start flirting with the deadline.

The two ruling coalition parties are currently far apart on their views about regulation of the IR industry. Many Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers favor looser regulation and they reflect views close to those of the major international operators. Komeito is much more skeptical about the entire IR project, and wants to see tough and tight regulation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ongoing corruption scandals are also creating a drag on the schedule. The opposition parties boycotted most parliamentary sessions this week.

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