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Lawmakers support casino legalization


While it was understood that the October 22 general election returned a majority of House of Representatives lawmakers who support the legalization of casinos, a comprehensive survey of the successful candidates conducted by the Mainichi Shinbun has put definitive numbers to that understanding.

The Mainichi found that 261 of the elected lawmakers—comprising 57 percent of the total—support the legalization of casino gambling. This figure far outnumbered the 152 lawmakers, or 33 percent, who count themselves opponents to legalized casinos.

Interestingly, these numbers are almost precisely the opposite of how the Japanese general public polls on the issue, according to multiple surveys.

The pattern remains unmistakable that the further out to the right wing of the Japanese political spectrum that one travels, the stronger is the support for casino legalization. Meanwhile, every single lawmaker regarded as a liberal or on the political left is opposed.

Of particular significance for the IR Implementation Bill is that the elected ruling coalition Komeito lawmakers support casino legalization by a 17-to-5 margin. This rather counterintuitive fact stands in contrast to the experience of recent years when it was Komeito’s opposition which had long delayed the enactment of the enabling legislation. Also, the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement, which is the political base of the Komeito party, is intensely opposed to the casino legislation that the lawmakers who represent it now overwhelmingly support.

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