An anti-casino community group in the Japanese city of Wakayama (pictured) says it has enough petition signatures from local voters for the right to ask the government for a referendum motion on whether the city should aim to host a casino resort.
The group stated that by Tuesday it had more than 8,000 signatures, above the threshold of 2 percent of Wakayama city voters required to make a referendum motion request to the local government.
The group would like to frame such a motion so it amounts to local voters being asked to choose if they are either in favour or against having a casino complex in Wakayama.
The community group hopes by the end of signature collection – the process began on November 6 and is due to conclude on December 5 – it will have gathered the support of 20,000 people.
The 2 percent qualifying threshold is equivalent to about 6,200 city voters, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The community group said that its major objection to an IR was uncertainty regarding Clairvest Neem Ventures KK, a private consortium due to be heading Wakayama’s tilt at hosting a casino complex.
Clairvest Neem Ventures is the winning consortium of a request-for-proposal scheme for the proposed creation in Wakayama of a casino complex with tourism facilities – known in Japan as an integrated resort (IR).
Wakayama’s prefectural government decided on November 19 to postpone a public consultation process on a draft for an IR District Development Plan, pending clarification by Clairvest Neem Ventures on issues related to funding and the structure of the consortium.
Under Japan’s liberalisation programme for casino business, up to three resorts will be permitted nationally. Currently, only two other local communities aside from Wakayama – namely Osaka and Nagasaki – are in the running to host an integrated resort.
The Japanese government opened on October 1 the application period for local authorities to pitch as host for a casino resort, and announced the weighting it will give when scoring such requests. The closing date for applications is April 28, 2022.
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