Osaka citizens continue to push for IR referendum

A group has gathered 208,552 signatures calling for a referendum.
A group has gathered 208,552 signatures calling for a referendum.

An anti-IR group claims it has passed the required minimum 2 per cent of voter signatures necessary to seek a referendum.

Japan.- An anti-IR group is continuing to push for a referendum on the development an integrated resort in the city of Osaka despite the plans having already been sent to central government.

According to GGRAsia, the Osaka Prefectural Election Administration Commission has verified at least 146,472 of 208,552 signatures submitted on June 6. That’s enough to reach the threshold of 2 per cent of local voters necessary for a referendum. It is therefore expected that a draft ordinance will be presented in the prefectural assembly with the government’s opinion on the matter.

Osaka prefecture’s governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has always been against the possibility of a referendum, which he has deemed unnecessary. However, he might change his mind. A previous request for a referendum made by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was rejected by 58 out of 83 votes at Osaka’s council.

Osaka’s operator partner, the MGM-Orix consortium, has proposed to invest JPY1tn (US$9.1bn) in the planned IR. The proposed site is an artificial island: Dream Island, in Osaka Bay. The project has a target date of opening in 2029.

Jonathan Halkyard, MGM’s chief financial officer, has said the company hopes to start work in early 2023. The period for IR applications in Japan closed in April with only Osaka and Nagasaki submitting bids.

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