Lawsuit could jeopardise Osaka IR plans

The MGM-Orix consortium has proposed to invest JPY1tn (US$9.1bn) in the planned IR.
The MGM-Orix consortium has proposed to invest JPY1tn (US$9.1bn) in the planned IR.

An anti-IR group claims the City’s Audit Committee refused to review the land lease deal for an integrated resort at Yumeshima.

Japan.- A lawyer is planning to file a lawsuit after the city of Osaka’s Audit Committee reportedly refused to review land lease agreements for the development of an integrated resort at Yumeshima. People opposed to the casino plans claim the arrangement violated Japan’s Local Government Finance Act, which aims to curb excessive public spending.

According to the Japanese media outlet Asahi Shimbun, five people described as former members of the Osaka city council claim that the city’s payment of JPY79bn (US$576m) for soil improvement works at the site for the proposed integrated resort was illegal.

However, the City Audit Committee voted by a majority not to support an audit of the validity of the land lease agreement.

Last September, MGM Resorts International and ORIX (MGM-Orix) were selected as Osaka’s IR partner by the Osaka Prefecture. The consortium proposed to invest JPY1tn (US$9.1bn).

The period for IR applications in Japan closed in April with only Osaka and Nagasaki submitting bids. MGM expects to have news on its integrated resort application in Japan as soon as September.

An anti-IR group claims it has reached the signatures of at least 2 per cent of voters needed to hold a referendum on the matter. The Osaka Prefectural Election Administration Commission verified at least 146,472 of the 208,552 signatures submitted on June 6. As such, a draft ordinance will be presented in the prefectural assembly with the government’s opinion on the matter.

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