Nagasaki advances with IR preparations

Nagasaki is one of the cities that will compete to host an IR.
Nagasaki is one of the cities that will compete to host an IR.

Nagasaki’s prefectural government has launched a series of new initiatives to prepare for a possible IR development.

Japan.- Nagasaki still seems to be the most prepared city to gain one of Japan’s planned three licences to develop integrated resorts while other prefectures deal with the withdrawal of potential private partners due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week the Kyushu Regional Strategy Council (KRSC), composed of the governors of Kyushu prefectures and Yamaguchi prefecture as well as major regional economic groups, held a meeting to launch the Kyushu Addiction Measures Network Council.

According to local media, the main goal of the council is to better deal with addiction issues and to handle concerns raised by IR opponents.

Last year, the prefecture announced the establishment of a new body to hold events and seminars for local businesses and create foundational strategies to promote effective business networking opportunities.

The city also created a consortium that aims to develop an institution for issues related to human resources and international tourism.

In April, Nagasaki’s prefectural government also announced it was seeking to form a consortium of public institutions to train young people to work at the city’s possible future IR.

Twenty officials have held a non-public meeting to start discussing the development and structure of the future education consortium.

Hideya Inoue, an academic specialist in international hotel management and dean of the Department of International Tourism at Nagasaki International University was selected as the chairman of the consortium.

On June 4, the Kyushu IR Council will hold an online seminar to discuss business opportunities and tourism promotion surrounding the launch of an IR.

There are currently three operators that have been selected as potential partners for Nagasaki’s bid to develop an integrated resort at the site of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo. Oshidori International HoldingsCasinos Austria International and Niki Chau Fwu Group have entered a competitive dialogue with the prefecture and city.

In June, the companies will have to submit secondary examination documents. Nagasaki is due to select its final candidate in August.

The successful IR partner will have to pay JPY158m (US$1.5m) for the Request for proposal process and JPY10m (US$92,000) for a background check. Nagasaki hopes to begin its IR development in the mid or late 2020s.

Current state of Japanese IR developments

Osaka: Osaka Prefecture fears that with only one contender, it may have lost the ability to negotiate terms in its IR development plans. MGM-Orix remains the only contender to become its private partner despite an extension of the deadline for submissions.

Wakayama’s IR bid continues to be at risk after Suncity Group’s decision to pull out, but the prefecture remains confident the city will advance with its sole remaining contender, Clairvest Group.

Wakayama’s governor Yoshinobu Nisaka said: “It is not ideal that there is only one company and we just choose them or don’t. If it is very unlikely that the area development plan we propose to the national Government will pass, then we will not select this operator.”

In Yokohama, Maybank Research has said it believes that Genting Singapore is well-positioned to win Yokohama’s IR bid.

Apart from Genting Singapore, there are other three companies interested in developing an IR in Yokohama: Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, Sega Sammy Holdings and Shotoku.

Galaxy Entertainment has pulled out of the RFP process due to uncertainty caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to analysts, the Yokohama IR development could generate a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of nearly US$7bn a year and US$2.7bn in net profit.

However, the mayoral elections could change the IR original plans as there are two anti-IR candidates: Masataka Ota and Akiko Fujimura. Current mayor Fumiko Hayashi has not yet decided if she will run for a fourth period. There is speculation that she may be considering not to run because of health reasons.

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Covid-19 integrated resorts