Wakayama IR Opposition Gains as a New Japanese City Shows Interest

  • By
  • Published
  • Est. 3 minutes

A Japanese anti-casino group in Wakayama claims it has enough petition signatures to ask the government to hold a referendum on whether Wakayama should host an integrated resort (IR). At the same time, another location in Japan, the city of Kuwana, has stepped forward, indicating it might want to be considered as an IR host.

Wakayama IR Opposition Grows

According to the group in Wakayama, it had over 8,000 signatures by Tuesday. This is more than the 2% threshold required for a request for a referendum to the local government. This group wants to make a motion that local voters are asked to vote on whether they support or oppose a casino complex in Wakayama.

The community group hopes that by the time the signature collection is over – which began on November 6 and will end on December 5 – it will have gained the support of more than 20,000 people.

According to information compiled by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, the 2% threshold equals approximately 6,200 city voters.

According to the community group, its main objection to an IR was uncertainty about Clairvest Neem Ventures. This private consortium will be leading Wakayama’s bid to host a casino complex. Clairvest Neem Ventures was the winner consortium in a request for proposals scheme to create a Wakayama casino complex with tourist facilities.

Wakayama’s prefectural governments decided on November 19 to postpone a public consult process on a draft of an IR District Development Plan. Clairvest Neem Ventures will provide clarification on the issues surrounding funding and structure.

New Candidate Emerges as Potential IR Host

Japan’s casino liberalization program will allow up to three resorts to be allowed nationally. Along with Wakayama, only Osaka and Nagasaki are currently in contention to host integrated resorts. However, there’s a late arrival emerging this week. The mayor of the city of Kuwana has asked the governor to look into the possibility of a casino or an IR being built in the city.

This information was published by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun news agency on Wednesday.

Kuwana is located in Mie prefecture in the Kansai area of Japan’s main islands Honshu. It has an estimated population of 145,000. The city’s mayor, Narutaka Ito, is channeling the latest expression of interest via the Mie prefecture. Only prefectures and ordinance-designated municipalities have the right to apply for an IR.

The Japanese government announced that it opened the October 1 application period for local authorities seeking to host a casino resort. It also revealed the weighting it would give in scoring such requests. Applications are due by April 28, 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *