The chances of casino resorts being allowed to be put up in Japan someday has gotten stronger as of Monday, as 71-year-old Yoshihide Suga secured his position to become the nation's next Prime Minister.
Yoshihide Suga, has been elected the next president of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), thus paving the way for him to become the succeeding Prime Minister.
The LDP elected Suga to replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its next party president. In times of emergency, like Abe's resignation due to health problems, the PM's party members in the National Diet will vote on his successor. Each of Japan's 47 prefectures receive additional three votes.
Suga got 377 votes during the party electioan Monday. Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida received 89 votes, while former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba got 68 votes.
In his victory speech Suga said, "I will devote all of myself to work for the nation and the people." Suga says that he will also be continuing Abe's wishes to bring in casino integrated resorts (IR) to Japan. The casino venues were seen by Abe as a great way to make Japan a more attractive leisure destination. Abe's aim is for Japan to welcome at least 60 million visitors yearly by 2030.
Suga has long been a confidant of Abe and he has pledged to continue several of his policies. Abe believes that the country is in good hands.
Abe said on Monday, "I'm handing the baton to new LDP President Suga. We can count on him."
Suga sincerely plans to continue Abe's "Abenomics". The Prime Minister's signature economic policy plan is based on "three arrows" namely the monetary easing from the Bank of Japan, structural reforms, and the fiscal stimulus through government spending.
COVID-19 has dramatically slowed Abe's economic overhaul and add to that Japan's aging population and slowing birth rate, Suga says that now more than ever, the country must remain committed to Abenomics, "We must overcome this crisis, so that each person in Japan can feel safe and have a stable living. In order to do that, we need to carry on Prime Minister Abe's measures and move forward with them. I believe it is my mission to do so."
Suga has been Abe's chief cabinet secretary since December 2012.
Great News for Casinos
The novel coronavirus has definitely delayed Japan's effort to bring three multibillion-dollar casino resorts to the country. The various setbacks, which include Japan's failure to meet its own self-imposed July 26, 2020 deadline to release its Basic Policy, have resulted in diminishing interest among the global major casino operators.
Las Vegas Sands, once the apparent front-runner for one of the three IR licenses, has already withdrawn its candidacy. Wynn Resorts recently shut its Yokohama office. As for MGM Resorts, it says it is now only interested in a minority stake role in a casino integrated resort.
The appointment of Suga to the presidency is great news for the remaining casino operators interested in winning licensure in Japan. Companies still interested include Galaxy Entertainment, Genting, Hard Rock, and Melco Resorts.
The government did not adjust July 30, 2021, the date to receive proposals from cities and prefectures and their preferred IR casino partner.