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The Lower House on Tuesday passed a controversial bill that would legalize modern casinos for the first time in Japan, despite mounting criticism within the ruling and opposition blocs over the Diet’s slapdash handling of the legislation.

The bill, seen as a potential boost to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to invigorate the tourism industry, cleared the Lower House plenary session with the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and conservative opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai.

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