JAPAN’s indefinite plan to open casinos has come under the spotlight again after a group of politicians from across party boundaries unveiled a bill to legalise gambling.
The bill calls for the ban on casinos to be lifted and to support local authorities who wish to develop integrated resorts.
The government has stated in the past that such resorts can further boost the nation's economic growth and provide another reason for international tourists to visit Japan.
There had been hopes that the first integrated resorts could open by the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games when the idea was first proposed in 2014, although that is considered an unrealistic target now.
Concerns regarding a possible rise in habitual gambling and the potential involvement of organised crime groups in the lucrative casino industry halted plans back then.
But the government now intends to overcome these concerns and forge ahead.
Said Koichi Haguida, Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary: "Integrated resorts are an extremely effective tool when soliciting private investment for constructing exhibition venues and other such facilities."
Haguida, who is from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, hopes the economic prospects of the project will help push the bill through.
Currently, the Odaiba waterfront district of Tokyo has been rumored as the planned location for an integrated resort, while cities in Kyushu and Osaka have both been mooted as possible sites as well.
Operator Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which in 2014 came up with a mock-up of their planned vision for an integrated resort on Tokyo Bay, is a likely contender for the project.