Japan’s prime minister reaffirms position in favour of IRs

Fumio Kishida assumed as Japan’s prime minister on October 4, 2021.
Fumio Kishida assumed as Japan’s prime minister on October 4, 2021.

Fumio Kishida says the casino industry could be a key driver to boost the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japan.- Prime minister Fumio Kishida had reiterated his belief that opening up a casino industry in Japan could boost inbound tourism as the country finally looks to attract foreign tourists following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, Japan’s bicameral legislature opened the application window for three integrated resorts licences. Those cities and prefectures interested in developing an integrated resort have until April 28 2022 to submit their final project proposals.

Currently, only three cities are expected to bid for licences: Nagasaki, Osaka and Wakayama. That means all three could win their bids.

Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism has said the government will set up a panel of experts to review plans submitted by prefectures that want to host IRs. The panel will include consideration of economic benefit calculations, prospects for the financial stability of such schemes, and certainty of funding.

Japan’s current IR bids status

The Nagasaki Prefectural Government has revealed that the costs for the development of its planned IR project have increased 25 per cent. According to the prefectural government and its partner, Casinos Austria International Japan, the development phase will cost JPY351.8bn. Other costs, including working capital, will raise the cost to JPY438.3bn.

In Wakayama, the governor has called on the prefectural assembly to hold a special meeting to approve the proposal for an integrated resort in the city. The meeting will probably be held before April 28, as the prefecture must submit its area development plan to the national government before that date.

The Wakayama Prefectural Government hopes to open the integrated resort by 2026. According to Wakayama’s draft regional development plan, Canada’s Clairvest Neem Ventures Co Ltd, Wakayama’s IR partner, will raise JPY470bn (US$4.09bn) to invest in the integrated resort.

Authorities in Osaka have refused to call for a public referendum on whether or not to allow proposals for an integrated resort in the city. The request for a referendum was made by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), but 58 of the 83-seat council voted against the draft ordinance. 

Osaka’s draft plan to open a casino resort in the metropolis has set a target opening date of fall or winter 2029. The Osaka government plans to submit its proposal to the national government in April.

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GAMBLING REGULATION integrated resorts