Report: Osaka Anti-IR Group to Push for Referendum

An integrated resort (IR) would bring many benefits to Osaka. The development itself would create new temporary workplaces and once completed, the IR would create permanent jobs as well. In turn, such a resort would undoubtedly boost tourism in the area as well.

Despite the benefits, not everyone agrees with the idea of having an IR within the prefecture or the capital city. Now, a new report reveals that an anti-IR group has collected enough signatures to push the prefecture for a referendum on the topic.

Anti-IR Group Collects Signatures to Seek a Referendum

As announced by GGR Asia, a group opposing the creation of an IR said Monday that it collected and verified 146,472 signatures that support their initiative. With so many signatures, the anti-IR group passes the 2% threshold, enabling it to seek a referendum for Osaka’s IR.

Earlier this month, the group revealed that it had collected 208,552 signatures in support of its initiative. However, those signatures were forwarded to the prefecture’s Election Administration Commission for further verification.

The IR Project Enjoys Strong Support

The initial investment for Osaka IR is expected to be JPY1.08 trillion ($8.0 billion). Yumeshima, an artificial island with approximately 390ha of reclaimed land within Osaka Bay, is expected to be the location of the new resort. MGM Resorts International and ORIX Corp, a local partner for the company, are expected to join forces for the massive project. If all goes well, the IR is expected to launch by 2029.

While the plan for the IR sounds well, the signatures collected by the group opposing the development of the resort may stall the project. After gathering the signatures, Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka prefecture, may initiate the process necessary to launch a referendum on the topic.

Yoshimura has addressed previous efforts of the anti-IR group and said that referendum won’t be necessary. But even if the governor initiates the process to launch such a referendum, it would then seek the approval of the prefectural assembly. According to GGR Asia, a major part of the assembly members are in favor of the IR bid. Similarly, the city council in Osaka also favors the project and has turned down attempts for a referendum on the topic.

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