An anti-casino community group in Japan’s Osaka metropolis said on Monday it had passed the 2-percent threshold of “effective” local-voter signatures necessary to seek a referendum on the effort of Osaka (pictured) to get a integrated resort (IR), according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
On June 6, the group had announced it had collected 208,552 signatures and submitted them to Osaka prefecture’s Election Administration Commission to verify their legitimacy.
The group said on Monday the commission had subsequently verified that at least 146,472 of them – the 2-percent threshold of local voters – were genuine.
On that basis, Osaka prefecture’s governor, Hirofumi Yoshimura, would be expected to present a draft of an ordinance at the prefectural assembly to implement such a referendum, with his opinion on the matter included with it.
On June 6, Mr Yoshimura had indicated he did not think a referendum on the IR topic was necessary.
The Osaka Restoration Association – a local political grouping that supports the IR policy – currently maintains a majority of seats in the Osaka prefectural assembly.
In February, Osaka’s city council voted against a bid to get a referendum on the IR issue.
The metropolis submitted its bid for an IR to the country’s national government in late April.
The project – with an initial investment of JPY1.08 trillion (US$8.0 billion at current exchange rates) – is slated for Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka bay. Osaka has teamed with United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix Corp as its private-sector partners for a tilt at an IR.
Earlier this month, MGM Resorts’ chief financial officer, Jonathan Halkyard, said at an investor conference that the firm expected in the autumn an official announcement from Japan’s national government on the Osaka proposal.
While the country’s legislation had allowed for up to three IRs in a first round of liberalisation, only one other metropolis, Nagasaki, had submitted a bid by the deadline.
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