Wakayama Residents Not as Hot about an IR as Previously Thought

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Support for an integrated resort (IR) in the Japanese prefecture of Wakayama may not be as great as once assumed. Residents from Wakayama are organizing a petition for a referendum about the prefecture’s proposal to develop an integrated resort. ABC TV reports that the resident groups believe that IR should be a major concern for residents. However, they were not given the opportunity to comment on the proposal and now want to be given a voice.

New Threat to Wakayama IR

Wakayama residents who want to debate the merits of an IR, despite having more than two years to speak up, are now busy trying to upset the process. To request a referendum from the mayor, more than 6,200 signatures must have been collected. A city ordinance must also be passed in order to allow for a referendum. According to the groups, they have already collected 3,000 signatures and hope to reach 20,000 signatures by December 5.

A referendum campaign by those opposed an IR was also held at Yokohama. This city elected an IR opponent to the position of mayor in August.

Residents groups collected around 193,000 signatures for a referendum. In response, the Yokohama municipal council discussed a draft ordinance proposal. However, the referendum wasn’t held as the ordinance had been rejected by a majority. Takeharu Yamanaka, a candidate opposing IR, was elected in the August mayoral election. This effectively ended the city’s bid to become IR-compliant.

Wakayama to Keep Pushing IR Plans Forward

Clairvest Neem Ventures has been selected by the Wakayama prefecture to build and operate an IR. They signed a basic contract in August, and Caesars Entertainment was announced as the new casino operator.

The prefecture’s preferred candidate and the prefecture are currently working on an area-development plan in order to submit to the central administration by the April 28 application deadline next year.

In preparation for the submission, Wakayama is holding a series of discussions to give the local community updates on what’s going on. Public briefings will be held at 14 locations between November 25 and December 4. Mariana City, where the IR would be located, will host one briefing. Another seven spots will be included in the program. These meetings provide a broad overview of the plan’s development. A Q&A session is part of the IR proposal by the prefecture for the Japan Diet.

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