Yokohama Mayor Poll Result May Affect Japan's IR Future

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 23 (Jiji Press)--The outcome of Sunday's mayoral election in Yokohama may put a grinding halt to the city's effort to host an integrated resort featuring a casino.

The major port city south of Tokyo has been regarded as a prospective candidate as an IR host. If the city, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, decides to withdraw from the race, it could affect plans by several other local governments to launch IRs, informed sources said.

The Japanese government plans to allow such resorts to be built in up to three locations. Besides Yokohama, the pair of the western prefecture of Osaka and its namesake capital, Wakayama Prefecture, also western Japan, and the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki have declared their IR bids. Applications from local communities willing to host IRs will be accepted between Oct. 1 and April 28 next year.

Former Yokohama City University professor Takeharu Yamanaka, an opposition-backed candidate who opposes Yokohama hosting a casino, won Sunday's election, beating seven other contenders including incumbent Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, an IR advocate. "I will immediately declare that Yokohama won't accept a casino-featuring IR," Yamanaka said upon winning the poll.

Yokohama, which announced its bid to host an IR in August 2019, had been in the process of selecting an operator of the facility, aiming to build it at Yamashita Pier at the Port of Yokohama.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press