Wakayama dismisses demands for IR referendum

28 officials voted against the calls for ​​a referendum.
28 officials voted against the calls for ​​a referendum.

Wakayama’s city council voted against the possibility of allowing a referendum on the development of an integrated resort in the city.

Japan.- Authorities in Wakayama have finally rejected a call for a public referendum on whether or not to allow proposals for an integrated resort in the city. Last November, an anti-IR group began collected more than 8,000 signatures on a petition calling for a referendum on the city’s integrated resort plans.

According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, a special session of the Council took place from January 24 to 27 to debate and vote on the referendum. Finally, 28 officials voted against and only 9 of the 38-member council supported the plebiscite.

Wakayama’s mayor, Masahiro Kohana, who is in favour of developing an integrated resort in the city, opposed the idea of ​​a referendum. He said there was already a formal process that allows for a vote on Wakayama Prefecture’s IR zone development plan. The mayor also said the referendum would be costly for the city.

Last December, Yoshinobu Nisaka, a member of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, called for Wakayama’s public hearing sessions on its integrated resort plans to be postponed until residents can be provided with more information about the proposed development.

Nisaka said that to be able to submit a draft development plan, the “most important thing” that needs to be clarified is who will develop the project and how it will raise funds.

Canada’s Clairvest Neem Ventures Co Ltd, Wakayama’s IR partner, has an agreement with Caesars Entertainment. However, the US company said it would be a “no capital commitment” partner.

The planned initial investment in the IR development is JPY470bn (US$4.3bn). The Wakayama Prefectural Government hopes to open the integrated resort by 2026. It must submit its area development plan to the national government for approval by April 28, 2022.

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