Wakayama, Japan Schedules Public Meetings to Discuss IR Progress

Posted on: November 2, 2021, 10:51h. 

Last updated on: November 2, 2021, 11:34h.

Japanese residents will soon hear details of the planned integrated report (IG). Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 4, 14 locations will offer public briefings.

Wakayama, Japan
Wakayama’s picturesque architecture, seen above, will soon serve as the backdrop for the prefecture’s IR development. (Image: tsunagujapan.com)

The new project is planned for Marina City, located on the perimeter of Wakayama.

Mariana City will hold one of the briefings. There will be another seven places included in the schedule. The meetings are designed to give a general view of the development plan. The prefecture’s IR proposal for the Japanese Diet will include a Q&A session.

Wakayama First To Arrive

The Wakayama Prefecture appointed Clairvest Neem Ventures as its partner to develop the IR in Wakayama Marina City in June. An agreement between the two was cemented in August.

From there, Wakayama became the first contender for an IR license to have its plans almost completely in place. However, a month later, the project received a boost when it was announced that Caesars Entertainment would be included as the casino operator.

Clairvest and Wakayama will draw up a development plan by the end of this month before submitting it to the Diet. There will be as many as three licenses issued in the first phase of Japan’s IR development. However, there is no guarantee that all three, or even one of the projects, will be approved.

The country is easing COVID-19 restrictions, and new plans are being studied to relaunch tourism. However, despite the benefits IRs can bring to the economy, the idea of allowing casino gaming in the country has not been without stiff detractors. It didn’t help that several politicians were found guilty of accepting bribes from gaming operators, which strengthened the argument that casino liberalization would attract criminal activity.

Japan’s IR Plans Safe, For Now

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that he would not seek reelection in September. There was some concern that a potential replacement might undo Japan’s work over the past 20 years to bring casinos to the landscape.

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) appointed Fumio Kishida to take over until formal elections were held, giving IR proponents time to drum up more support.

There was no guarantee that Kishida, or the LDP, would retain power after the elections. However, dissolving the House only 10 days after he was sworn into office gave Kishida a strategic, but risky, advantage.

He said at the time that he wanted to “stimulate credible and sympathetic politics with the trust of the citizens, and therefore decided to hold the general election as soon as possible.”

The House of Representatives’ election was held this past Sunday, and based on the official counts, the LDP is going to retain its control of the Diet. Aligned with the Komeito political party, the LDP is safely in place, and can continue to move forward with the country’s IR plans.

This means that Osaka and Nagasaki, like Wakayama, can continue working on their own IR projects. These are currently the only three locations still in the running for a license, following an initial run two years ago that attracted more than half a dozen. The next step is for the plans to be presented to the Diet by next spring, with the final selections – if any – made by the summer.