Japan: IR delay raises concerns

The Basic Policy will be announced next month, but applications will not open until October 2021.
The Basic Policy will be announced next month, but applications will not open until October 2021.

The period for IR applications has been put back by nine months

Japan.- The postponement of the application period for local governments to develop integrated resorts in the country has raised concerns among the candidate cities and prefectures.

The Japanese government has officially announced that the window for applications will be put back by nine months, from January – July, 2021, to October 1, 2021 – April 28, 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The central government expects to publish its delayed Basic Policy on IRs after a new round of public consultation that concludes on November 7 this year.

The draft currently includes infectious disease countermeasures, rules on the taking and storing of minutes from meetings between government officials and operators, and greater efforts to prevent problem gambling and addiction.

Currently, Osaka city and prefecture, Yokohama city, Wakayama prefecture and Nagasaki prefecture have announced they will make formal bids for one of the three IR licences that will be available.

In Yokohama city, the delay will give more time to opponents of the project, who have become increasingly vocal. Mayor Hayashi, who strongly supports the project, will face reelection on August 29, 2021, before the application period begins.

Wakayama’s governor Yoshinobu Nisaka, has expressed regret and “deep dissatisfaction” with the delay.

Osaka is also disappointed since, if successful, it had hoped to open its IR in time for when it hosts the World Expo in 2025, which now seems unlikely.

However, Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka Prefecture said it was a “reasonable decision.” The Osaka Metropolis Plan will be voted upon on November 1.

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Casinos integrated resort IR Japan