In Japan and the man being widely tipped to replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly announced that he remains committed to licensing the Asian nation’s inaugural trio of integrated casino resorts.

According to a report from GGRAsia, Yoshihide Suga (pictured) currently serves as Chief Cabinet Secretary for the coalition federal government led by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party but is now among the frontrunners to succeed his outgoing boss, who detailed late last month that he would be stepping aside owing to health concerns.

Critical component:

Suga used a Friday television interview in his Kanagawa Prefecture constituency to state that the introduction of the three integrated casino resorts remains a vital part of Japan’s plans to increase inbound tourism and that he intends to proceed with their licensing. The source reported that the 71-year-old politician also helps to lead a government body linked with promoting the benefits of the gambling-friendly developments while his electoral district includes parts of the city of Yokohama, which is lobbying for the right to bring a Las Vegas-style facility to a 116-acre waterfront parcel of land near Yamashita Park.

Smooth shift:

For its part and international brokerage Nomura Securities Company Limited reportedly used an August 28 filing to detail that the plan to bring a trio of integrated casino resorts to Japan would most likely remain intact should Suga succeed Abe as the nation’s most prominent politician. The firm purportedly asserted that the former Yokohama city councillor is moreover known to be a fan of Abe’s fiscally conservative economic policies but is facing competition for the top post from fellow Liberal Democratic Party big-wigs Shigeru Ishiba and Fumio Kishida.

Reportedly read the memo from Nomura Securities Company Limited…

“Having served as Chief Cabinet Secretary since December of 2012, he has had a guiding hand in the way successive Abe administrations have kept a tight rein on policy and can be expected to maintain that style if elected. As well as continuing Abe’s policy of reforming the social security system, we expect he would continue his policies of promoting tourism including legalizing casinos and cutting mobile phone charges.”

Direct discontent:

However, Suga’s views are not shared by all of his constituents as a group of community activists in Yokohama recently began collecting signatures in an attempt to trigger a local referendum on whether the metropolis should play host to one of the three coming integrated casino resorts. This purportedly came after the city’s mayor, Fumiko Hayashi, announced on August 19 that her administration was delaying the official request for proposal (RFP) stage of the process for an unspecified period of time owing to the federal government’s delay in publishing it ‘Basic Policy’ criteria.