Nagasaki Launches IR Briefings as Planned, Wakayama Facing Delays

Posted on: November 22, 2021, 09:26h. 

Last updated on: November 22, 2021, 01:30h.

Japan’s plan to bring integrated resorts (IR) and casino gambling to the country is moving forward. However, there are still plenty of hurdles that have to be crossed. Nagasaki and Wakayama are making progress with their IR projects, although not without some difficulty.

Nagasaki, Japan
The skyline of Nagasaki, Japan, which could add an integrated resort in a few years. (Image: Shutterstock)

Nagasaki Has a Clear Vision

A briefing session was held for local businesses on November 18 in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture. At this event, potential IR operator Casinos Austria International Japan (CAIJ) participated, explaining some of its plans. The Sasebo Chamber of Commerce and Industry held the briefing. More than 1,000 people attended from local companies. Some were from outside the prefecture. Officials from local governments also participated.

According to NHK reports, Akio Hayashi, the president of the CAIJ, was also present at the briefing. He asserted during the meeting, “Because the casino image comes first, there are those in support and in opposition, but what we are aiming for is regional revitalization. We will do our best to win this national project and make a contribution for everyone.”

Prefectural officials stressed the economic ripple effects of attracting international and domestic tourists, as well as the boost to local employment in order to develop a casino, large-scale MICE facility, and hotel.

The CAIJ and the prefecture will prepare an area development plan to be submitted to the central government by April 28, 2022. The national government plans to approve a maximum number of three locations for an IRC.

Wakayama Slows Down

Wakayama Prefecture, which has had some late resistance to the IR plan emerge, announced that it will postpone the scheduled resident briefings and public feedback sessions at 14 locations because of insufficient information. These sessions were scheduled to take place from November 25 through December 5.

The special committee meeting of the prefectural council last week was attended by Clairvest Neem Ventures Co Ltd., Wakayama’s chosen IR partner. He explained Wakayama’s involvement in building and operating the facility. They also discussed the plans of the group for a MICE facility.

Council members asked about funding and who was involved in the operation. But Clairvest and the prefecture refused to answer.

Following a discussion, the committee concluded that residents had not been provided with enough information, and that briefing sessions should be canceled. The committee’s opinion was acknowledged by the prefecture, who announced that the briefings would be postponed as it invited public feedback. The February 2022 briefing will be the next.

Clairvest was selected by Wakayama prefecture in August to be its preferred candidate for constructing an IR. Caesars was named the casino operator in September. A basic agreement was also signed.

Clairvest is working with Wakayama to create an area development plan that will be submitted to the central government before the April deadline.