Toshihito Kumagai, a political independent who is mayor of the Japanese city of Chiba (pictured), said on Tuesday that his administration would not be applying to the national government to host a casino resort.
Mr Kumagai stated the decision regarding the topic of an integrated resort (IR) – as large-scale casino complexes are known in Japan – in a Tuesday press briefing.
Under a proposal from the national government, Japan’s basic policy on the IR question would – once fully formulated and published – allow eligible places, namely prefectures or ordinance-designated cities, to submit an IR plan for the first phase of market liberalisation, and make an application to the government in the period January 4 to July 30, 2021.
In comments to media, Chiba’s mayor cited as the reason for the decision the “short” time available to prepare an IR plan for the city. Mr Kumagai also noted Chiba had been adversely affected by a large typhoon last year.
Chiba is located in the Kanto region, part of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. The Kanto region includes Greater Tokyo and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa.
A total of eight firms had responded in October to a formal request-for-information (RFI) process launched by Chiba city regarding the possibility of creating an IR project there. The Chiba authorities did not disclose the identities of the participants in the RFI process.
In November, the governor of Hokkaido prefecture, Naomichi Suzuki, had announced that his administration would not pursue the opportunity of hosting an IR in the first round of market liberalisation in that country.
The national government has said a maximum of three casino resorts will be permitted in the first round of liberalisation.
Kazuyoshi Akaba, Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, confirmed to local media on Tuesday that the national government would announce its finalised “basic policy” on the IR issue this month.
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