The Nagasaki District Court began hearing on Tuesday from the sides involved in a lawsuit seeking to restrain the governor of that Japanese prefecture from spending public money on efforts to get an integrated resort (IR) with casino there. That is according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
In September, one group – “Stop the Casino Nagasaki Prefectural Network” – filed a complaint on behalf of eight individuals, claiming that the prefectural government under governor Kengo Oishi, had signed a contract for circa JPY110 million (US$737,399) with a law firm and other advisors.
According to media reports, the contract was to review the prefecture’s IR Area Development Plan and related work required in the bid process for a casino resort.
The lobby group asserts that the money is an improper use of public funds, as it claims the IR application is not likely to be approved at national level.
According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, during Tuesday’s hearing the plaintiff’s side insisted that Nagasaki’s proposed fundraising plan was “a major problem” and the prefecture had “never engaged in a proper confirmation” of the plan.
Legal representation for the prefectural government said at the hearing that the payment was “proper” because “certain works related to the assessment” of the proposal had to be carried out.
Nagasaki (pictured) submitted its proposal for a casino resort to the national government in late April. The prefecture’s private-sector partner on the plan is Casinos Austria International Japan Inc.
The proposed site is land next to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City, within the prefecture. A figure of JPY438.3 billion has been mentioned for Nagasaki’s scheme.
Governor Oishi has said that some parties have given what the prefecture refers to as “commitment letters” regarding acting as arrangers of funding for the scheme, but according to the lawsuit, has not made public the supporting documents.
On Tuesday, the plaintiffs argued that the letters the prefecture sent to the central government would “not meet” the requirement set by the central authorities. Hence, “there is no chance” for Nagasaki’s scheme “to be approved”, and there was “no need” for the prefecture to spend further resources, they added.
The next court session is scheduled for December.
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